KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — Joergen Graabak delivered a long awaited Olympic gold medal for the nation that pioneered Nordic combined, then added another victory for good measure to help Norway restore its status in the sport.
Four years after being shut out of the medals at Vancouver, Norway topped the Nordic combined medal standings at the Sochi Olympics with two gold and four medals overall.
Eric Frenzel's timing wasn't so good. After winning on the normal hill, he got sick and missed out on a medal in the individual large hill competition. He recovered in time to help Germany to a silver medal in the team event on the same hill.
"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," Graabak said after Norway edged Germany and 2006 and 2010 champion Austria in the team event.
Norway has the most Olympic medals in the sport — 12 — but Graabak's gold was the country's first since Nagano 1998, when Bjarte Engen Vik won the individual and team events.
Graabak's teammate Magnus Moan picked up silver on the large hill, and Magnus Krog got bronze on the normal hill behind Frenzel and Akito Watabe of Japan.
The medals certainly helped restore some recognition in the country known as the birthplace of the sport in the late 1800s.
Frenzel's illness didn't hurt Norway. The German athlete's win on the normal hill fulfilled expectations — he won the World Cup last season and is the runaway leader this year with seven wins in 11 events. But he pulled out of the last day of training for the large hill and was a doubtful starter.