PyeongChang 2018 review: Germany take all gold on offer

23 February 2018 14:19
OWG PyeongChang Team Event
OWG PyeongChang Team Event -

Germany claimed both individual gold medals on offer, as well as a silver and a bronze, then added the team event gold as the rich icing on its Nordic combined cake, to leave it the dominant force in the sport at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games.

Eric FRENZEL (GER) started the victory parade by becoming the third athlete to win back-to-back gold medals in the individual Gundersen NH/10km. A decent ski jump, followed by an even more impressive cross-country round, won Germany its first Nordic combined gold medal of the Games.

It was a similar story to the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, with Akito WATABE JPN) leading the group before again having to settle for a silver medal.

One impressive challenger to the Germans in the individual events was Jarl Magnus RIIBER (NOR). Well placed after a strong ski jump on the normal hill, he did what he could to hold off the more experienced and faster cross-country skiers but a credible fourth was his result.

"I was always trying to manage their speed and I was always (falling) far behind, so I was starting to feel a little bit mentally down," RIIBER said. "It is my first Olympics, I am 20 years old. I'm happy for the result, but in the Olympics a medal is everything."

In the large hill event it was again all about the Germans. They had three competitors in the group of seven that quickly formed at the head of the cross-country race and even though RIIBER tried to turn things his way by controlling the speed it was reigning world champion Johannes RYDZEK (GER) who crossed first.

Not only was this Germany's first gold medal in this event but it claimed all places on the podium with Fabian RIESSLE (GER) taking silver and FRENZEL bronze. This was the first podium sweep in Nordic combined since Norway in 1936.

"I think for our sport in Germany, Nordic combined, it was such a huge thing to get all the medals," RYDZEK said.

RIIBER was again fourth after a brave display. "Fourth twice, it is so hard and now I am quite disappointed because it was even closer this time than last time," he said. "More chances will come next Olympics, though."

He did finally claim a medal at PyeongChang 2018 with Norway taking silver in the team Gundersen LH/4x5km, but it was the Germans who again came out on top.

Atlhough Austria led after the ski jumping round, Vinzenz GEIGER (GER) had overcome their lead long before the first exchange on the cross-country. For the next three legs the biggest excitement was the fight for the silver medal.

With a German flag in his hands, RYDZEK crossed the finish line alone and in triumph, well ahead of the Norway and Austria athletes, to end the Nordic combined events at PyeongChang 2018 the way they had started - with victory for Germany.