Eric Frenzel retains his gold
Nordic Combined superstar Eric Frenzel has added a major achievement to his merit list. The German won the gold medal in PyeongChang by +4.8 seconds in the finish. Akito Watabe from Japan also retained his silver from Sochi. Lukas Klapfer conquered the bronze for Austria, finishing +18.1 seconds after Frenzel.
Eric Frenzel followed a decent jump off the normal hill with a blazing 10km cross-country ski to win gold in the Nordic combined individual Gundersen NH/10km at Alpensia Cross-Country Skiing Centre on Wednesday.
FRENZEL won the individual Gundersen NH/10km at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games and became the third athlete to win back-to-back gold medals in the event.
The ski-jumping round was delayed and affected by the wind and even on the solid snow of the cross-country tracks wind gusts played havoc time and again with the racers' rhythm.
But by halfway through the cross-country race, FRENZEL was already even with Lukas Klapfer, Akito Watabe, Jarl Magnus Riiber and Franz-Josef Rehrl, who had started 4, 8 and 21 seconds respectively ahead of him.
With wide tracks on the course allowing the skiers room, the group raced shoulder to shoulder until the last steep climb where FRENZEL made his lone move to the front.None of his opponents could follow his change of pace and he had only to stay on his feet through the final two corners to take the gold medal.
As at Sochi 2014, the PyeongChang 2018 gold and silver came down to a final battle between FRENZEL and WATABE, which FRENZEL won Wednesday by 4.8 seconds. KLAPFER got the bronze, 13.3 seconds behind WATABE, and 4.4 seconds ahead of RIIBER. World champion Johannes Rydzel (GER),11th after the ski jumping, managed fifth with a strong cross-country race.
Eric FRENZEL (GER) - gold
"It's amazing. I feel really great. After the jump I knew I was in a really great position. I knew it was a good jump. I was a little bit lucky with the wind - that was one of the big reasons why you today needed quite a little bit of luck so at the end I'm really happy. It was quite a hard race because the wind on the track (for the cross-country) was not so easy and on the last round my goal was to push really hard on the last metres and the last uphill. At the end the only way was to go in front and make my own race. I'm really, really happy about this victory today."
Akito WATABE (JPN) - silver
"I'm really happy to win the silver medal today. It's a fantastic day.It was really difficult conditions on the jumping hill. The wind was always changing and everyone needed some luck for good jumps and I have a bit of luck and I made a quite good jump today. The cross-country part was also quite hard. It was really windy and racing was difficult when chasing in the group. I was struggling a little leading the group. I'm really satisfied with my race. I was trying to get the gold today, but Eric Frenzel was a bit stronger than me today. I did my best and today it's a great fight."
Lukas KLAPFER (AUT) - bronze
"It's perfect. I'm 32 years old and (it is) the first individual medal so it's a great day and now I know the hard work was worth it. It's the biggest thing in my life for now, for sure. The Olympic medal was always a dream from childhood on, so it's the biggest day for sure in my career."
- Eric FRENZEL (GER) became the third athlete to successfully defend his Olympic title in the Gundersen normal hill/10km event on Wednesday 14 February at the Alpensia Cross-Country Centre.
- FRENZEL became the third athlete to successfully defend his Olympic Winter Games title in this event, after Ulrich WEHLING (GDR, 1972-1976-1980) and Johan GROTTUMSBRATEN (NOR), 1928-1932).
- It was FRENZEL's fourth Olympic medal in this sport and equalled seven other men with that feat, behind only Felix GOTTWALD (AUT, seven) and Samppa LAJUNEN (FIN, five).
- Silver medallist Akito WATABE (JPN) won his second Olympic medal, after also clinching silver in this event at Sochi 2014.
- WATABE became the first Japanese man to win multiple individual Olympic medals in Nordic combined.
- Earlier today, WATABE's compatriot Ayumu HIRANO took silver in the men's snowboard halfpipe, after also claiming silver in that event in Sochi.
- Gundersen normal hill/10km bronze medallist Lukas KLAPFER (AUT) won his first individual Olympic medal, after taking bronze in the team event in Sochi.
- Austria has now won 14 Olympic medals in Nordic combined, equalling Finland in second place behind only Norway (30 medals).
Statistics provided by Gracenote Sports