Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
This page is about the olympic-winning ski jumper. There is also a University teacher named Matti Nykänen.
Matti Nykänen (born July 17, 1963) is a Finnish ski-jumper, and inarguably one of the greatest in that sport, winning five olympic medals (four golden), 15 world championships medals (six golden) and 22 Finnish championships medals (13 golden). He won gold and silver in 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, and was the first ever to win medals on both hills in the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. In 1986 he flew 191 metres in Planica, which was a world record until 1987, when Piotr Fijas (Poland) flew 194 metres, again in Planica.
His career inextricably combined sheer genius with temperamental outbursts and capers.
Once Nykänen gave up the sport, the genius remained a heroic memory in the minds of his countrymen, but his continuing and widely publicized follies made him a something of a national disgrace. Stories of him beating his wife and his wife beating him (usually the latter), multiple marriages and divorces, a career as a musical performer (resulting in such horrible ear-grating compositions as "Hai Hai Hai, mä oon sun samurai", roughly translated as "Hai, Hai, Hai, I am your samurai", and "Vain mäkimies voi tietää sen", roughly "Only a ski jumper truly knows") and even as a male stripper guaranteed more ridicule than respect. In his native land he is possibly the one man who has graced more tabloid screamsheets than any other person.
He has been married several times:
- Tiina Hassinen (1986–1988)
- Pia Hynninen (1989–1991)
- Sari Paanala (1996–1998)
- Mervi Tapola (2001–2003)
- Mervi Tapola (2004–)
On August 24, 2004, Matti Nykänen was arrested on suspicion of attempted manslaughter after the stabbing of a family friend. He was found guilty and sentenced to a two year, two month jail term on October 27, 2004. He will serve only half of the sentence as a first-timer.
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