Janne Ahonen wins ski jumping World Cup opener in Kuusamo

Janne Ahonen wins ski jumping World Cup opener in Kuusamo{mosimage}Defending overall champion Janne Ahonen won the World Cup ski jump opener in his home country Saturday, making the longest jumps in each round before boisterous, flag-waving fans. Competing on Ruka’s illuminated large hill, Ahonen went 144.5 meters in the first round and 142 in the second for 318.7 points. It was the 19th victory in his World Cup career.

“The second jump brought a mighty feeling,” Ahonen said. “In the pandemonium afterwards I don’t even know how long it was. In the first round I felt a bit panic even if I knew that my confidence was there.”

Ahonen finished a whopping 43.2 points ahead of runner-up Alexander Herr of Germany. Herr jumped 138.5 and 126.5 meters for 275.5 points. Martin Hollwarth of Austria was third with 274 points after jumps of 139 and 123.5.

Poland’s Adam Malysz, the 2003 World Cup champion who was twice runner-up last year, wound up 19th. The top U.S. finisher was Clint Jones, 25th. Strong wind forced organizers to cancel training jumps Thursday, but conditions were much better Saturday. -The Associated Press

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