Germany wins Olympic gold in Nordic combined team event
By JIM ARMSTRONG, AP Sports Writer
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — Carrying his country’s flag in one hand as he crossed the finish line, Johannes Rydzek capped a dominating performance to give Germany more Olympic gold.
Rydzek finished with an overwhelming 52.7-second advantage as the Germans won the Nordic combined team event Thursday at the Pyeongchang Olympics.
“Of course the gap was big but you have to be focused, have to do your race,” Rydzek said. “It’s a really hard course, but I could enjoy the last meters really. It was such a great day for team Germany.”
In second spot after the ski jumping stage, Germany wasted little time in taking the lead in the 4×5-kilometer cross-country relay race. Vinzenz Geiger erased a six-second deficit for a comfortable 12-second advantage after the first leg.
Any doubt about the winner was erased when Fabian Riessle widened the lead to 44 seconds before handing off to Eric Frenzel.
Rydzek was handed a German flag at the last turn and was mobbed by his teammates as he crossed the finish line of the cross-country course at Alpensia Ski Jumping Center.
Defending champion Norway was second, followed by Austria, which had been leading after the ski jump section of the competition.
Germany won the previous two Nordic combined events at the Pyeongchang Games and joined Finland as the only country to win three gold medals in the sport in one Winter Games.
“It’s crazy,” Rydzek said. “I think we didn’t expect that for the games. I know we are in a good shape but we have not all worked together before. We always believed in ourselves and had a good spirit here in Pyeongchang. I think the team won.”
With Germany so far out in the lead, the focus shifted to which country would finish second.
Joergen Graabak held off Mario Seidl on the last leg to give Norway the silver. Japan placed fourth, followed by France and Finland.
The win gave Germany its 13th gold medal of the games. Frenzel and Rydzek have been big contributors.
Frenzel won the Nordic combined normal hill, and Rydzek took gold in the large hill competition.
More AP Olympic coverage: https://wintergames.ap.org