Frenzel/Rydzek complete German gold medal sweep in Lahti

03 March 2017 08:31
Eric Frenzel beams at Johannes Rydzek after winning Team Sprint gold
Eric Frenzel beams at Johannes Rydzek after winning Team Sprint gold -

The duo of Eric Frenzel and Johannes Rydzek proved to be unbeatable again - completing the gold medal sweep of the German Nordic Combined team in Lahti. But this competition was won in an intense fight only. In the end, it was one second that separated Rydzek and gold from Norway’s Magnus Krog and silver. Akito and Yoshito Watabe took the bronze medal for Japan, +10.2 seconds behind the winners. 

Francois Braud and Maxime Laheurte shone in the jumping part of the event. Both delighted the crowd with jumps of 125 metres and a point total of 264.2 points had the Frenchmen leaving the start line 16 seconds ahead of the German team. Frenzel/Rydzek accumulated 256.1 points after two jumps of 125.5 and 122 metres.

The brother pair Watabe put Team Japan on the third position after the jumping event. Two times 123 metres brought them 255.4 points and a time disadvantage of 18 seconds on Braud/Laheurte. Also still in the contention was Team Norway with 24 seconds to make up after Magnus Krog and Magnus Moan jumped 126.5 and 119.5 metres respectively. Bernhard Gruber and Willi Denifl followed 4 seconds later and were also still on course for a medal at the start of the race.

The local heroes from Finland, Eero Hirvonen and Ilkka Herola, had two slightly weaker jumps and started 48 seconds behind the leaders from France. Team Slovenia had a solid performance on the jumping hill with youngster Vid Vrovhnik holding up well under the pressure and Marjan Jelenko showing part of his jumping strength with 121.5 metres. The had to make up a time disadvantage of one minute and four seconds.

Even a crime writer could not have come up with a story line with more suspense and excitement than what the cross-country part of the race offered. The gaps between the first five teams were eliminated quickly into the race and from then on a true “formula one” feeling took over. With constant action in the stadium and fast interchanges between the athletes, the spectators were entertained at best. Germany, Norway, Japan, France and Austria stayed together in the leading group, even with Akito Watabe falling closely before an exchange at the halfway point of the race.

Willi Denifl hat lost contact to the top four on one of his laps but with the athletes in front playing tactical games, his teammate Berni Gruber was able to close the gap again. Ultimately, however, the Austrians, Frenchmen and Japanese were left behind again when Eric Frenzel and Magnus Moan attacked on the last uphill on their last lap.

Exchanging to Johannes Rydzek and Magnus Krog, the hunt for the medals was truly on on the last lap. In a nailbiter of a finish line sprint, which was made even more difficult by Russian athlete Samir Mastiev being overlapped the turn before the home straight, Rydzek got the inner lane and stormed to his fourth consecutive gold at Lahti 2017. Magnus Krog and Magnus Moan had to be satisfied with silver, while brothers Akito and Yoshito Watabe won the first-ever Japanese Team Sprint medal at World Championships.

Austria claimed rank four, France finished on the sixth place, Italy was seventh and the Finnish team ended their home World Championships on place eight. The fastest team on the track was team Norway who needed 28:38.8. for the 2x 7.5 km, the fastest individual skier was Magnus Moan (13:53.0).

Final Results
Ski Jumping Results