2013 large hill world champion Eric Frenzel of Germany outlasted Japan’s Akito Watabe down the homestretch to win the gold medal in the Nordic combined individual normal hill/10km, while defending Olympic champion Jason Lamy-Chappuis of France finished a distant 35th.
Frenzel, also the reigning World Cup champion, had led today’s event after the ski jumping portion. Considered one of the better jumpers in Nordic combined, Frenzel flew for 103.0 meters and plunked down a score of 131.5, which was enough to vault him into first place over Watabe (100.5 meters/score of 130.0).
Under the Gundersen method, that meant Frenzel took a six-second lead over Watabe going into the 10km of cross-country skiing (in individual Nordic combined events, one point’s difference in the jumping equals four seconds’ difference in the skiing).
Frenzel and Watabe were neck-and-neck for gold toward the end of the skiing before the German put on a strong finishing kick inside the stadium section of the course that proved too much for Watabe to overcome. Still, Watabe has his first Olympic medal and now becomes the second Olympic Nordic combined individual medalist from Japan – the other being his coach, Takanori Kono (silver, normal hill, 1994).
Magnus Krog of Norway took the bronze medal at 8.1 seconds behind Frenzel.
As for Team USA, they were led by Bill Demong in 24th position. Demong won gold in Vancouver four years ago in the Nordic combined large hill event.
NORDIC COMBINED – Individual normal hill/10km
1. Eric Frenzel (GER), 23:50.2
2. Akito Watabe (JPN), +4.2 seconds
3. Magnus Krog (NOR), +8.1 seconds
24. Bill Demong (USA), +1:49.6
26. Bryan Fletcher (USA), + 1:55.5
33. Taylor Fletcher (USA), +2:32.7
(Todd Lodwick (USA), DNS – Skiing; 108.0 score in jumping)