CALGARY, FEB. 24 -- Matti Nykanen found gold in the clear Canadian sky again today, winning his third gold medal of the Winter Olympics by leading Finland to the 90-meter team championship at Canada Olympic Park.
Nykanen, who had won gold in the 70-meter event on the opening day and had taken his second title Tuesday in the oft-postponed 90 meters, soared 115 and 114.5 meters, easily the best two jumps of the day.
"Both jumps went really well," Nykanen said. "I had a great feeling about them . . . There is more pressure in team jumping because if you don't have a good jump, everyone else will suffer."
Since 1964, when ski jumping was split into two events, no flyer had ever won two golds in an Olympic competition. And today, Nykanen soared even higher into the sport's history.
Finland's four-man team of Nykanen, Ari Pekka Nikkola, Tuomo Ylipulli and Jari Puikkonen combined for 634.4 points.
Yugoslavia, led by 90-meter bronze medalist Matjaz Debelak, won the silver with 625.5 points and was in contention for a gold until Miran Tepes had a jump of 102 meters that was the team's shortest of the day.
Norway won the bronze with 596.1 when Erik Johnsen, the silver medalist in the 90 meters, went 111.5 meters in the last series of jumps to overtake fourth-place Czechoslovakia and Austria, third going into the last series but fifth at the end.
Finland led after the first series of jumps when Nikkola jumped 110.5. The top three jumps by the team in each round are added together for the total team score.
There had been some concern early in the day that winds might be picking up again. But the competition went off on time, allowing Games organizers to breathe a healthy sigh of relief.
There had been some talk about completing the jumping after the Olympics if high winds had continued to wreak havoc with the schedule. But today's competition, witnessed by only 20,000, was the last jumping event on the treacherous 90-meter hill. And one of the more memorable, thanks to Nykanen.
There were other firsts for a man known as the enfant terrible of his sport: He became the first athlete at these Games to win three gold medals. When he won the 90 on Tuesday, he became the first jumper to win consecutive gold medals in back-to-back Olympics, having won at Sarajevo in 1984. And he now has a total of five Olympic medals, four gold and a silver in the 70 in Yugoslavia. All this from an athlete who reportedly makes 6,000 jumps a year to train.
A high-school dropout who is now a national hero, Nykanen had a history of abnormal behavior that included fights with teammates, a serious drinking problem and being kicked off the national team twice.
But he got married in 1986, became a father five months ago and clearly got himself into wonderful condition.