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    Controversial bindings and magic bring Ammann Olympic gold

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    A "magical force" and disputed bindings helped Simon Ammann of Switzerland to win his fourth Olympic title in Saturday's ski jumping large hill competitions.

    A "magical force" and disputed bindings helped Simon Ammann of Switzerland to win his fourth Olympic title in Saturday's ski jumping large hill competitions.

    The 28-year-old Swiss dominated both rounds, showing the longest jumps of 144 and 138 meters and scoring a total of 283.6 points. Though he received poor style points in the first round, the advantage of at least seven meters was enough to beat his opponents.

    Amman said he had "a magical force to jump," making a clear reference to the nickname 'Harry Potter" he received after his first two Olympic victories in 2002, due to his likeness to the fictional wizard.

    The victory showed that the binding row with the Team Austria in no way affected the magic of the Swiss jumper.

    On Thursday, Austria's head coach Alexander Pointner accused the Swiss of using curved iron bindings, not approved by the International Ski Federation (FIS). According to Pointner, the bindings help to gain a better flight position, thereby improving aerodynamics.

    FIS said, however, Ammann's controversial bindings were in line with the rules.

    The same athletes, and even in the same order, appeared at the Olympic podium on Saturday as compared to last week's normal hill competitions - a rare occurrence in this highly competitive sport.

    Austria's Gregor Schlierenzauer, Ammann's long-time World Cup rival, was third with 262.2 points. The Austrian ski jumping star, who jumped to the Whistler hill record of 149 meters in January 2009, was behind Polish veteran Adam Malysz, who took the silver with 269.4 points.

    With four Olympic victories now in his pocket, Ammann became the most successful ski jumper ever to compete at the Olympic Games. The victory also made him the most successful Swiss Olympian ever, as he beat the previous record of alpine skier Vreni Schneider, who won three gold, one silver and one bronze medal.

    MOSCOW, February 21 (RIA Novosti, Yekaterina Shakhlovich)

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