| Event type

Large Hill, Individual, Men

Date23 February 1988
LocationCanada Olympic Park, Calgary (Ski Jumps)
Participants55 from 18 countries
FormatTwo jumps, with both scored on distance and form.
Judge #1Georges GottardiSUI
Judge #2Sulo KuronenFIN
Judge #3Ernie MarchioriCAN
Judge #4Don BurdickUSA
Judge #5Karol StrbaTCH
DetailsK-Point: 114 m

Already having won the Olympic title on the normal hill Finland’s Matti Nykänen was a clear favourite to retain the title he had won in Sarajevo. Away from the Finn the picture was not so clear as the expected challengers from Norway, Austria and East Germany had faltered on the smaller hill and others, notably Pavel Ploc and his Czechoslovak teammates, had excelled where the more favoured failed. Strong winds meant that the competition had to be postponed on four occasions but when it was eventually held Nykänen’s first jump of 120.5 m was the longest ever recorded in Olympic competition and virtually ensured that he would win the gold medal. The strong Norwegian tradition was upheld by Erik Johnsen who finished second a week after placing 41st in on the normal hill. Just 0.2 of a point behind Johnsen was Matjaž Debelak, the first Yugoslav ski jumper to win an Olympic title.

Dead last was the eccentric Briton Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards who narrowly avoided the embarrassment of scoring half the points of the penultimate finisher. It needs to be pointed out though that the next-to-last jumper, Todd Gillman of Canada, had fallen on his second jump.

The stories of Eddie Edwards and Matti Nykänen have come together and moved apart over the decades. The fame gained by their Olympic appearances was exploited to the point where both men reached the top of the Finnish pop charts but financial problems were to haunt them throughout the nineties. This is where the stories part company. Eddie Edwards recovered from bankruptcy, became a qualified lawyer and shares his time between the law, the building industry, his wife and children and the celebrity circuit. Nykänen’s life spiraled into alcoholism and violence and in 2004 he was convicted of assault when he stabbed a friend after an argument over a finger pulling competition. Married five times Nykänen has also served prison time for domestic violence and at one point was reduced to working as a stripper.

149Matti NykänenFIN224.0Gold
254Erik JohnsenNOR207.9Silver
32Matjaž DebelakYUG207.7Bronze
438Thomas KlauserFRG205.1
544Pavel PlocTCH204.1
645Andreas FelderAUT203.9
751Horst BulauCAN197.6
848Staffan TällbergSWE196.6
918Matjaž ZupanYUG195.8
1053Miran TepešYUG194.8
1125Jari PuikkonenFIN194.6
1212Heinz KuttinAUT193.5
1350Piotr FijasPOL192.6
149Ladislav DluhošTCH189.5
155Jon Inge KjørumNOR189.2
161Ari-Pekka NikkolaFIN189.0
1741Ole Christian EidhammerNOR187.9
1810Jan BoklövSWE185.4
1916Vegard OpaasNOR185.2
203Günther StrannerAUT184.9
2120Anders DaunSWE183.1
=2236Per-Inge TällbergSWE181.8
=2227Remo LedererGDR181.8
2415Jiří MalecTCH181.2
=2511Peter RohweinFRG177.6
=2556Didier MollardFRA177.6
2747Christian HauswirthSUI177.1
2826Ernst VettoriAUT176.6
2928Jiří ParmaTCH175.3
304Gérard BalancheSUI172.6
3143Jens WeißflogGDR172.0
3246Mike HollandUSA170.6
3357Akira SatoJPN170.2
3423Andi BauerFRG169.9
3522Steve CollinsCAN169.1
3652Josef HeumannFRG167.1
3713Jan KowalPOL164.3
3814Pekka SuorsaFIN163.4
3958Sandro SambugaroITA161.6
=4034Primož UlagaYUG161.0
=4030Emil ZografskiBUL161.0
4240Mark KonopackeUSA160.2
4332Fabrice PiazziniSUI156.9
4419Christoph LehmannSUI153.2
4533Virginio LunardiITA150.9
4655Vladimir BreychevBUL147.5
4721Shinichi TanakaJPN147.3
4837Masaru NagaokaJPN146.0
497Chris HastingsUSA145.1
5017Ted LangloisUSA142.8
5129Bernat SolaESP139.3
528Katsushi TaoJPN138.2
5331Ron RichardsCAN128.1
546Todd GillmanCAN110.8
5524Eddie EdwardsGBR57.5
DNS35Mikhail YesinURS
DNS39Frédéric BergerFRA
DNS42Eduard SubochURS