Sochi 2014 Nordic Combined Facts

11 February 2014 13:44
Eric Frenzel
Eric Frenzel -
NordicFocus

On Wednesday 12 February, the men's Gundersen normal hill/10km will be held at the RusSki Gorki Ski Jumping Centre. 

  • The individual normal hill event in Nordic combined has been part of the programme in each Olympic Winter Games since the first edition in Chamonix in 1924. 
  • Norway won this event six out of the first seven times it was staged at the Games. But the most recent Norwegian winner was Bjarte Engen VIK (NOR) in Nagano in 1998, with the medals going elsewhere in 2002, 2006 and 2010. 
  • Eric FRENZEL (GER) can become the second man representing the current NOC Germany to win gold in this sport, following Georg HETTICH (GER) who won NH/10km at Torino 2006. Other German athletes have won gold in Nordic combined, but that was before the reunification of the country in 1990. 
  • Jason LAMY CHAPPUIS (FRA) will attempt to become the third person to win this event on more than one occasion. Ulrich WEHLING (GDR) won it three times (in the Sapporo 1972, Innsbruck 1976 and Lake Placid 1980 Games) and Johan GROETTUMSBRATEN (NOR) won it twice, in the St Moritz 1928 and Lake Placid 1932 Games. 
  • LAMY CHAPPUIS can become the third man to win two Olympic gold medals and two individual world championship titles after GROETTUMSBRATEN and WEHLING (GDR).

 

World cup leader Eric FRENZEL (GER) is favoured to win his first Olympic gold medal in the opening Nordic combined event of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. 

Event: men's individual Gundersen NH/10km 

Date: Wednesday 12 February Start time: 12:30 (ski jumping trial round), 13:30 (ski jumping competition round), 16:30 (cross country) (loc)

Favourites: FRENZEL, Jason LAMY CHAPPUIS (FRA), Magnus Hovdal MOAN (NOR) 

Other contenders: Haavard KLEMETSEN (NOR), Akito WATABE (JPN), Johannes RYDZEK (GER) 

Vancouver 2010 medallists: Gold: CHAPPUIS Silver: Johnny SPILLANE (USA) Bronze: Alessandro PITTIN (ITA) 

2013 world champion: CHAPPUIS, in Val di Fiemme, Italy 

2013/14 (overall) world cup leader: FRENZEL


Background facts 

  • Europeans have won all 19 individual normal hill Nordic combined events at the Olympic Winter Games. Norway has won nine of those, and can make its success ratio exactly 50% (10 out of 20) with victory on Wednesday. 
  • Jason LAMY CHAPPUIS can become the first Frenchman to win two Olympic gold medals in Nordic combined. Fabrice GUY (FRA) is the only other French Nordic combiner to win Olympic gold (LH/15km at Albertville 1992). 
  • WATABE can win Japan's first Olympic gold medal in an individual Nordic combined event. Japan's only previous individual Olympic medal in Nordic combined was Takanori KONO's (JPN) silver in the LH/15km event at Lillehammer 1994.

 

Mario STECHER (AUT) and Todd LODWICK (USA) are the first Nordic combined athletes to compete in six Olympic Winter Games. "To be an Olympian is one thing, to go to six is completely different," said LODWICK, 37, who made his Olympic debut alongside his Austrian rival at Lillehammer in 1994. 

In recognition of their longevity and dedication to the sport, both were nominated by their teams as flagbearers for the Sochi 2014 opening ceremony. "The American flag represents so much, so to be voted on by the athletes themselves was a true honour," said LODWICK, who is also the first USA athlete to notch six Olympic Winter Games. 

For STECHER, 36, the honour made him as nervous as at any time he has been competing. "Two days before I was OK but then you go into the stadium and I felt quite nervous." 

The pair have been competing at the top level for more than 20 years but show little sign of slowing up. Both agree that endurance improves with age. "Cross country is a low-impact sport," said LODWICK, who took silver in the team event at Vancouver 2010. "Your body can recover very fast. Skiing is more impact, but look at (ski jumper, Noriaki) KASAI (JPN). He's 41 and still killing it." 

STECHER added: "You have to be quite constant, quite stable. You have to have strength to do this all the time at quite a high level. It feels good to compete against the young guys and be as good. "In endurance, you are good until 40 years, like (Ole Einar) BJOERNDALEN (NOR). It's harder on the hill but a big part of Nordic combined is cross country, which is why we are able to compete." 

The oldest Nordic combined medallist is Simon SLATTVIK (NOR) who won gold at age 34 in the individual normal hill event at the Oslo 1952 Olympic Winter Games. Either LODWICK or STECHER could beat that record with a medal in Sochi, and both have their strongest chances in the team event on 20 February.