Ski jumpers’ coach jumps ship

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Norway’s national ski federation is launching a search for a new coach for the men’s ski jumping team, after Mika Kojonkoski said he’ll be moving back home to Finland next spring.

LIBEREC, CZECH REPUBLIC - FEBRUARY 21:  Mika Kojonkoski the coach of Norway looks on during the Men's Ski Jumping 100m Hill competition at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 2009 on February 21, 2009 in Liberec, Czech Republic.  (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images)

“We’re open for all solutions,” ski jumper Bjørn Einar Romøren told newspaper Aftenposten. Both Romøren and fellow jumper Johan Remen Evensen stressed that no matter what, Kojonkoski will still be boss in their minds throughout the entire season.

The mild-mannered Kojonkoski has been popular both among his jumpers, the federation and fans. He has coached the ski jumpers since 2002 and is widely credited with reviving Norway’s position as a major ski jumping nation.

Norwegian jumpers have, during Kojonkoski’s tenure, won Olympic gold, four world championships in ski flying and the annual hoppuke (a week of jumping events in the alps around New Year) twice.

After nine seasons, though, Kojonkoski says it’s time to move home. He’ll resign as coach after the Nordic Skiing World Championships are held in Oslo in February.

Romøren, who has had a close working relationship with Kojonkoski throughout most of his jumping career, didn’t want to offer his opinion on who might best follow Kojonkoski as Norway’s coach. “There are coaches both in Norway and outside Norway who could take over,” he told Aftenposten. “A foreign coach has worked well. I’m sure the (federation’s jumping) committee will go though a broad spectrum of names.”

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