Matti Nykänen made his Olympic debut at the 1984 Sarajevo Winter Games. He duly put together two near-perfect jumps to win the large hill event by 17.5 points – the largest margin in Olympic history. He also earned a silver medal on the normal hill.
At the 1988 Calgary Winter Games, he astonishingly improved on his 1984 performance. He won the normal hill event by a decisive 17 points, won the large hill by 16.5 points and led Finland to victory in the inaugural team event. This earned him a place in the record books as the first ski jumper to win multiple gold medals at the same Olympic Games.
Nykänen’s success made him a celebrity in his native Finland. Sadly, the four-time world champion struggled to deal with his fame, and his performances began to suffer. He quit ski jumping after finishing 50th at the 1991 World Championships. In 1994 Nykänen tried to make a comeback, but without further success. Nonetheless he will always be remembered as one of the greatest ski jumpers of all time.