Tue, Feb 15, 2022
ZHANGJIAKOU, China (AP) - Joergen Graabak of Norway won Olympic gold in Nordic combined Tuesday, rallying from a deficit of 2 minutes, 7 seconds to cross the finish line first in a 10K cross-country race after placing 12th in ski jumping.
Graabak became the first two-time Nordic combined Olympic champion on the large hill after winning the event in 2014.
Norwegian teammate Jens Luraas Oftebro won silver, finishing four-tenths of a second behind. Akito Watabe of Japan earned bronze.
Norwegian superstar Jarl Magnus Riiber, coming out of isolation after testing positive for COVID-19, jumped 142 meters (466 feet) and had 139.8 points in the first phase of the competition. The impressive jump gave him a 44-second lead in the cross-country race.
The three-time world champion built a lead of one minute before making a costly mistake. Riiber made a wrong turn after a few minutes and that miscue cut his cushion to fewer than 10 seconds at the 2.5K mark.
Riiber wasn't as familiar with the course as his competitors after being in isolation for more than 10 days. The Norwegian faded late in the race and finished eighth.
Top-ranked Johannes Lamparter of Austria had a slim lead at the 7.5K mark but ended up in sixth.
Vinzenz Geiger of Germany won the Nordic combined event last week, rallying from a deficit of 1:26 in the cross-country race, and placed seventh on Tuesday. Kristjan Ilves of Estonia, who also was in isolation after testing positive for COVID-19, started the cross-country race second and finished ninth.
Three-time Olympic gold medalist Eric Frenzel of Germany is out of isolation and the team is hopeful he will be able to compete Thursday in the Nordic combined team event.
The athlete who jumps the farthest and impresses judges the most starts the cross-country portion of Nordic combined with a lead. The rest of the field follows, in order of the finish in ski jumping. The first to cross the finish line wins gold.
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