In 1998 at Nagano, Japanese ski jumper Kazuyoshi Funaki took off on his second jump on the large hill, and did something that had never been done before at the Olympics. Funaki was given a set of five marks of 20.0 for style points. This had only been achieved once before in international competition, by Austrian Toni Innauer in a ski flying meet at Oberstdorf, Germany in March 1976.
Since Funaki’s jump, only three other jumpers have been given a perfect set of 20.0 style points in any international event – Sven Hannawald (GER) and Hideharu Miyahira (JPN) in the same World Cup large hill event at Willingen in February 2003, and Austrian Wolfgang Loitzl in the Four Hills tournament at Bischofen in January 2009.
At the Olympics, two others jumpers have been awarded three scores of 20.0 for a single jump, both achieving a style score of 59.5 – Norwegian Espen Bredesen in 1994 on the normal hill, and Austrian Andreas Kofler on the large hill in 2006.
Funaki actually was given perfect 20s a total of 9 times at the Winter Olympics – his perfect jump in 1998, with 5 20s, his first jump on the normal hill also in 1998, and his first jump on the large hill in 1998, both with 2 20s and style scores of 59.0. Bredesen was the recipient of perfect scores 6 times – with two 20s given to him in the 1994 team event, and a single 20 on his second jump on the large hill in 1994.
Other jumpers who were awarded perfect 20s multiple times include Finland’s Janne Ahonen with 3 20s, Japan’s Noriaki Kasai with 3 20s, and Kofler, who was given a 4th 20 in the 2006 large hill qualifying round. Kasai, incidentally, has competed at 6 Winter Olympics in ski jumping, and is still competing and having his best season, winning a ski flying event in January 2014. He will be in Sochi, barring some unforeseen problem, and will set a record by appearing in his 7th Winter Olympics. This mark will also probably be achieved by Russian luger Albert Demchenko.
The entire list of perfect 20.0 style scores given at the Winter Olympics follows. This has been done 21 times, with 34 perfect 20.0 scores awarded.
5-20.0 Kazuyoshi Funaki (JPN,98LHJ2) (60.0/20,20,20,20,20)
3-20.0 Espen Bredesen (NOR,94NHJ1) (59.5/19.5,19.5,20,20,20)
3-20.0 Andreas Kofler (AUT,06LHJ1) (59.5/20,19.5,20,20,19.5)
2-20.0 Espen Bredesen (NOR,94TmJ2) (59.0/19.5,19.5,20,19.5,20)
2-20.0 Kazuyoshi Funaki (JPN,98NHJ1) (59.0/20,20,19.5,19.5,19.5)
2-20.0 Noriaki Kasai (JPN,98NHJ2) (59.0/19.5,20,19.5,20,19)
2-20.0 Andreas Widhölzl (AUT,98LHJ1) (59.0/20,19.5,19.5,20,19.5)
2-20.0 Kazuyoshi Funaki (JPN,98LHJ1) (59.0/19.5,20,19.5,19.5,20)
1-20.0 Noriaki Kasai (JPN,94NHJ1) (58.5/19,19.5,19.5,20,19.5)
1-20.0 Esp. Bredesen (NOR,94LHJ2) (58.5/19.5,19.5,19.5,19.5,20)
1-20.0 Andi Goldberger (AUT,94TmJ2) (58.5/19,19.5,19.5,20,19.5)
1-20.0 Janne Ahonen (FIN,98NHJ2) (58.5/19.5,20,19.5,19.5,19.5)
1-20.0 Masahiko Harada (JPN,98NHJ2) (58.5/19,19.5,19.5,20,19.5)
1-20.0 Andre. Widhölzl (AUT,98LHJ2) (58.5/19.5,20,19.5,19.5,19.5)
1-20.0 Janne Ahonen (FIN,98TmJ2) (58.5/19.5,19.5,19.5,20,19.5)
1-20.0 Simon Ammann (SUI,02TmJ2) (58.5/19.5,19.5,20,19,19.5)
1-20.0 Ths. Morgenstern (AUT,06LHJ2) (58.5/19.5,19.5,20,19,19.5)
1-20.0 Janne Ahonen (FIN,02NHJ2) (57.5/19.5,19,19,20,19)
1-20.0 Adam Małysz (POL,02NHJ2) (57.5/19,19,19,20,19.5)
1-20.0 Andreas Kofler (AUT,06LHQR) (58.5/19.5,19,19.5,19.5,20)
1-20.0 Roar Ljøkelsøy (NOR,06TmJ2) (58.5/19.5,19.5,20,19.5,19.5)
Note that most of these scores were given in 1994 and 1998 – the judges seem to have tightened up a bit, and no scores of 20.0 were given at Vancouver in 2010.
So does getting perfect style points guarantee you a victory or a medal? Not necessarily but it helps. In the above list Funaki won gold on the large hill in 1998 and Bredesen won the normal hill gold in 1994. But Andreas Kofler in 2006 lost out to his teammate, Thomas Morgenstern, and won “only” a silver medal. Janne Ahonen won two team silver medals, but his perfect scores never garnered him an individual medal. Kasai likewise never won an individual medal, his best finish a 5th on normal hill in 1994, but did get a silver in the 1994 team event.
We’ll have to see if the ski jumping judges in Sochi are tight or generous with their style points.