Ex-Olympic champ jailed for wife knife attack

Tue, 24 Aug 12:38:00 2010

Former Finland's Olympic ski jumping champion Matti Nykanen has been sentenced to 16 months in jail for attacking his wife with a knife on Christmas day last year, a local court ruled.

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"A knife was used in the assault and the crime is considered aggravated," the Pirkanmaa court said after noting that Nykanen's wife Mervi (pictured to the right of Nykanen) had numerous cuts and scratches on her head and body.

He was handed a four-month suspended sentence for a similar offence when estranged from sausage business heir Mervi in 2004, but the two reconciled and remarried.

They are now in the process of divorcing.

Since the end of his competitive days in the early 1990s, Nykanen has become notorious at home and abroad for his turbulent relationships, bar brawls and career ventures into the entertainment business.

In addition to his first conviction for a knife attack on his wife, Nykanen received a 26-month jail sentence for aggravated assault in 2004 following a stabbing incident at a cottage in Nokia, around 180km north of Helsinki.

In that incident a 59-year-old man was attacked, reportedly after a drunken finger-pulling contest between friends turned sour.

Nykanen was released midway through that sentence but days afterwards he was sent back to jail for four months following anotehr assault on his wife.

He has also been involved in several other violent incidents in bars and restaurants, some involving knives.

Nykanen, 47, won four Olympic gold medals, three of them at the 1988 Calgary Games, and one silver.

Reuters

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