Olympics start for Nordic Combined athletes
For the Nordic Combined athletes the Olympic Games in Sochi 2014 started with three training rounds on the HS 106 in the RusSki Gorki Ski Jumping Center. "Everything is bigger, the facilities, the media attention, the distances, everything. But from a sporting perspective there's no big difference to a regular World Cup competition. With one exception: We have a quota of 55 athletes here in Sochi, that's not enough for Olympic Games. I will try to get a quota of 65 for Pyoengchang 2018. This would give three more nations a chance to have a team competing. Basically I hope for nice and fair competitions here in Sochi", said Lasse Ottesen, for whom this are the first Olympics as FIS Race Director.
The first ski jumping training on Sunday went smoothly and the favorites showed the expected top performances. Eric Frenzel (GER), Akito Watabe (JPN) and Haavard Klementsen (NOR) presented themselves in a great shape for the Olympics. The three top athletes of the current overall World Cup ranking did very well on the HS 106 hill. These three athletes will be the ones to beat in the fight for Gold, Silver and Bronze.
"It's a modern hill and we are well prepared. I feel I'm in a good shape", said Eric Frenzel. Haavard Klementsen said he is in Sochi to have fun, but still there are goals to achieve for him: "I try to enjoy every minute and hopefully along the way some of my dreams can come true." His teammate Magnus Moan is one of the athletes who aim to challenge the top favorites in Sochi: "I want to get on the podium. It wouldn't be a failure not to win a medal, but I know I'm good enough."
By the numbers: Nordic combined
1988 - the Nordic Combined competition at the Olympic Winter Games consisted of a single event until 1988 when a team event was added. The competition was further expanded in 2002 when a second individual event joined the program.
87 - different men have won an Olympic medal in Nordic combined.
34 - The oldest medallist in Olympic Nordic combined is Simon Slattvik (NOR), who won a gold medal in the individual normal hill event in 1952, at 34 years and 209 days of age.
26 - Norway has won the most medals of all NOCs in this sport with 26 medals (G11-S8-B7). That is as many as the next best two NOCs combined. Finland (G4-S8-B2) has collected 14 and Austria (G3-S2-B7) stands at 12.
17 - Anssi Koivuranta (FIN) was 17 when he claimed bronze in the men's relay event at Torino 2006. He is still the youngest Olympic medal winner in this sport.
16 - a total of 16 NOCs have won Olympic medals in Nordic Combined, with 14 of them from Europe, the exceptions being Japan and United States.
7 - Felix Gottwald (AUT) has won a record seven Olympic medals in this sport.
6 - Mario Stecher (AUT) and Todd Lodwick (USA) can become the first to contest six Winter Games in Nordic Combined.
6 - Nordic Combined is one of six sports that have been ever present at the Olympic Winter Games since the original instalment in 1924. The others are cross country skiing, figure skating, ice hockey, ski jumping and speed skating.
3 - Ulrich Wehling (GDR) is the only man to have won a gold medal in three different editions of the Winter Games in Nordic Combined.
1 - Nordic Combined is only open to male participants and, as such, is the only winter Olympic sport. At the summer Games, that also applies to the Greco-Roman wrestling, should that be considered an individual sport. There are also two sports open only to female participants at the summer Games -synchronised swimming and rhythmic gymnastics.