December 29 - Matti Nykänen, Finland's four-time Olympic ski jump champion, is facing charges of aggravated assault, grievous bodily harm and illegal menace after he allegedly attacked his wife on Christmas Day. 

Nykänen allegedly stabbed his wife, Mervi Tapola, and tried to strangle her.

Tapola, Nykänen'a fourth wife who he re-married for a second time in 2004, is suffering from head and hand injuries as the result of the alleged attack.

It is alleged that during the attack Tapola manage to escape into their neighbour's house and called the police.

It is not clear what started the alleged altercation, but it is known that Nykänen abused his wife on numerous occasions before.

Nykänen was kept in jail until yesterday, but was released by the police, although he is temporarily under a restraining order.

The 46-year-old has suffered with alcohol problems since hanging up his skis following a career in which he won a gold medal at the 1984 Olympics in Sarajavo and three at Calgary four years later and has been prosecuted before for violent behaviour.

He has worked as stripper and a singer since retiring in 1987 and is a favourite of the Finnish tabloids.

In 2004 Nykänen was arrested on suspicion of attempted manslaughter after the stabbing of a family friend after losing a finger pulling competition.

He was found guilty of aggravated assault and sentenced to a 26-month jail term in October 2004. 

But, as it was a first offence, he was released from jail in September 2005.

While on probation, he was re-arrested four days later for again abusing Tapola, who he married in 2001 and divorced two years later before remarrying a year later.

Nykänen was convicted again for four months in March 2006 for stabbing a man in a pizza restaurant in Korpilahti.