True to its namesake, Norway has just dominated one of the premier Nordic Combine events at the 2014 Winter Olympics. Its athletes proved that they could ski jump and cross-country ski with equal efficiency on the way to two medals in the individual large hill and cross-country event.
Norwegians Joergen Graabak and Magnus Hovdal Moan finished first and second, respectively, with Germany’s Fabian Riessle finishing third during Day 11 of the Sochi Games. It was the first time in 78 years that Norway's competitors have gone 1-2 in this event, as per Infostrada Sports:
Let’s take a look at the results from the finals of the individual large hill jump–and cross country race, as well as a recap of some of the top performances of the competition.
|2014 Winter Olympics - Nordic Combined (Large Hill and Cross-Country)|
|Rank||Country||Name||Jump Points||Jump Rank||Jump Time Diff.||Race Time||Race Rank||Time / Difference|
|2||NOR||Magnus Hovdal MOAN||117.8||7||+0:45||22:43.1||2||+0.6|
|7||FRA||Jason LAMY CHAPPUIS||120.7||5||+0:33||23:10.9||7||+16.4|
Graabak started 0:42 seconds behind Germany Eric Frenzel, the winner of the ski jumping portion of this event, due to the Gundersen method that allows the competition to start in intervals and have the true winner be the first to cross the finish line.
The 22-year-old didn’t let that gap stop him from being in contention down the stretch and making a late surge to win gold, although it wasn’t exactly expected. He’s much less known that silver medalist Moan, who already had two Olympic medals under his belt going into this event.
After the race, the Norwegian gold medalist described his feelings to David Ljunggren of Reuters: “It's surreal. I didn't think I would get to achieve this.”
Graabak has already shown that he has what it takes to be the next big thing in this sport. He made his professional debut in 2011 and made his first podium appearance after just 10 World Cup races, according to his profile on FIS-Ski.com.
He also flashed a flair for the dramatic, pulling away from a five-man pack with approximately 100 meters left to claim the gold. Graabak finished with a time of 22:45.5, a mere 0.6 seconds ahead of Moan and 1.6 seconds in front of Riessle.
None of the athletes that reached the podium finished in the top five during the large hill jump. They used their superior cross-country skills to make up the ground and overtake the slower ski jumpers during the race.
Graabak was the top scorer in that portion of the event, scoring a 118.4—good for sixth-place. Moan was just behind him in seventh-place with a 117.8 score, while Riessle placed ninth with a score of 115.1 in the jump.
Frenzel had a chance to win his second gold medal of the Games after he secured his first during the individual normal hill and cross-country competition. However, he wasn’t sharp during the racing portion of Tuesday’s event and finished 10th overall.
According to the staff of RIA Novosti, the German star was struggling with a virus, which may have contributed to his poor performance in the finals.
With two Nordic Combined medals now in the rear-view of the 2014 Winter Olympics, it’s time to look forward to the discipline’s last remaining event in Sochi—the team large hill and cross-country competition.
Almost all of the stars that competed today will be back to represent their country one last time and hoping to put together a fine enough score to help their four-man team break through and win a gold medal.
Norway currently holds the medal count lead in this sport with three total (one gold, one silver and one bronze), followed by Germany with two total (one gold, one bronze) and Japan (one silver).
It is definitely worth it to tune in on Feb. 20 at 6 a.m. to see the thrilling conclusion of the Nordic Combined at the 2014 Winter Olympics.