New rules not aimed at Ammann

New rules which will make life harder for lightweight ski jumpers are not specifically aimed at Switzerland's Simon Ammann, a small man who soared to two golds at these Games, authorities said.


Starting next season the International Ski Federation (FIS) will increase the minimum weight limits for jumpers and slightly cut the surface area of their skis. This, it says, will help heavier jumpers compete more equally.

Ammann, an expert glider who currently dominates the sport, complains the changes will force him to take off faster and are therefore unsafe.

Walter Hofer, the FIS ski jumping race director, dismissed the suggestion that the federation wanted to handicap Ammann.

"No, we don't interfere with that ... we want to keep (jumping) safer and fairer," he said.

"You can't follow individual athletes. Ammann will still be competitive."

Hofer said the balance in jumping had swung too far in favour of competitors with great technique, who are able to wring advantages out of their equipment to fly further.

Ammann's Austrian rivals complained he was using modified boot bindings that gave him an illegal advantage by increasing his aerodynamic profile. The FIS later ruled the bindings were within the rules.

Ammann - a double gold medallist from 2002 - easily won the individual and large hills, often landing jumps beyond limits deemed to be safe.

"Now we're trying to cut down a bit more the aerodynamic efficiency ... This adjustment is because we wanted to (stress) once again a bit more the athletes' physical condition. This of course is also against Ammann's philosophy because he is a lightweight athlete," said Hofer.

Ammann says crowds want to see longer jumps and that under the new rules, he will have to take off and land faster to make the same kinds of distances he did at Whistler.

Hofer says the regulations will ensure jumpers stay with the hills' maximum safe limits.

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