The first section of the men's Nordic combined went off with a bang on Tuesday, with the large hill event taking center stage before the cross country session later in the day.
And it was left all the way until the bottom of the order for Germany's Eric Frenzel to claim the top spot heading into the 10-kilometer stage, his jump bagging him a score of 129.0, confirming exactly why the 25-year-old is world No. 1 in this field.
As NBC's Greg Ferraro confirms, the feat is that much more impressive when considering Frenzel has been suffering with illness of late:
Frenzel (GER) with a virus jumps 139.5m and moves into first. #nordiccombined— Greg Ferraro (@GFerraroNBC) February 18, 2014
Read on for a breakdown of the top scorers in the first phase of the second Nordic combined competition:
|Rank||Nationality||Jumper||Distance (m)||Score||Judges' Scores||Total Points||Time Difference|
|5||FRA||Jason Lamy Chappuis||133.5||72.8||55.0||120.7||+0:33|
|7||NOR||Magnus Hovdal Moan||133.0||72.0||53.0||117.8||+0:45|
For full results of Tuesday's large hill event, visit the official Sochi 2014 website.
Considering the jumping order is decided on world ranking—lowest-ranked going first and highest-ranked waiting until last—Estonia's Kristjan Ilves did terrifically to hold onto his lead for so long, his No. 1 entry of 117.2 enough to see off 31 other hopefuls.
Who will claim gold in the men's Nordic Combined event?
However, as the ranking got more prestigious and the event's bigger names came to the fore, Ilves gave way to his more respected peers, budged out of the way by a steadily climbing standard of jumping distance.
Austria's Bernhard Gruber is another who can be proud of the fashion in which he defied the odds, a clean score of 123.4 being good enough for a third-place start in the cross country leg, even though there were 13 jumpers who came after him.
There was a more bitter twist on events when Japanese jumper Taihei Kato saw one of his skis unbuckle upon landing, creating a disastrous tumble near the end of the landing slope.
The French Sochi Winter Games Twitter account managed to grab this image of the crash, which required Kato to be lifted off the course with an injury.
Japan team spokesman Katsushi Obata later confirmed, per the Associated Press via the Star Tribune, that Kato suffered a broken left arm and that he "would not compete in the cross-country portion of the event."
However, Haavard Klemetsen didn't suffer the same unfortunate fate and will have felt hopeful about his chances of taking a time advantage after shooting to the top of the rankings with a score of 127.0.
Frenzel's turn was still to come, though. As he has done in competition before, he was present to dash any such hopes. His clinical 139.5-meter jump ensured that it is he who holds priority heading into cross country.
Having already won gold in the normal hill event and in the team large hill, the German wonder will go into the second leg of this story knowing that the medal placement is there for him to lose.
It's just as well, too. Germany currently head the Sochi medal count with eight gold medals to their name (13 in total). But with six nations sitting just three golds behind on five, the race is far from over in Russia.