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Matti Nykänen
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Matti Nykänen

Matti Nykänen (born July 17, 1963) is a Finnish ski-jumper, and inarguably one of the greats of the discipline, 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 the continuing temperamental outbursts and capers made him a national target of ridicule, stories of him beating his wife and his wife beating him (usually the latter), multiple marriages and divorces, a career as a musical performer and even as a male stripper guaranteed more publicity than respect. In his native land he is possibly the one man who has graced the more tabloid screamsheets than any other person.

He has been married several times: