Norway wins gold medal in Nordic combined team

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 20, 2014 at 8:06 am •  Published: February 20, 2014
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KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — After failing to win a medal at the Vancouver Olympics, the country that spawned Nordic combined more than 125 years ago made quite a comeback in Sochi.

Norway won its second gold medal in three days after taking Thursday's large hill team event. That gave the Scandinavian country its fourth medal of the games in three events.

Norwegians Joergen Graabak and Magnus Moan finished one-two in the large hill Tuesday while teammate Magnus Krog took the bronze in the normal hill.

"Tuesday was a great day for me, but this is better — standing on top with these friends and teammates," Graabak said inside the stadium at the RusSki Gorki Jumping Center after the venue's final event of these games.

"We had a bit of a rough patch in Vancouver ... to be able to take the gold and also three individual medals at these championships is unreal."

On Thursday, cross-country ski specialist Moan made up a 25-second deficit on the first leg and Norway outdueled Germany and defending champion Austria in the relay in which each team member skied 5 kilometers.

Final-leg skier Graabak outsprinted German rival Fabian Riessle in the last 100 meters to give Norway the victory by three-tenths of a second. Two-time defending champion Austria took the bronze, 3.4 seconds behind.

Norway, where soldiers first competed informally in ski jumping and cross-country skiing in the late 1800s, finished the relay in 47 minutes, 13.5 seconds.

"I've had a lot of good sprints this year, and I knew that if I was the first one into the stadium, I was pretty confident that I would be the first one over the finish line," Graabak said.

Germany took an early lead when all four of its competitors, including normal hill gold medalist Eric Frenzel, jumped 125 meters or better — the only team to do so.

Frenzel, who nearly missed the large hill final because of a virus and finished 10th, was the lead skier for Germany with a seven-second advantage over Lukas Klapfer of Austria. Norway started 25 seconds behind and France 35 seconds.

"I felt really much better than the last competition," said Frenzel, the World Cup leader. "My body felt today really good. For me it was a perfect Olympic Games: two medals — one gold, one silver."



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