The season 2016/17 was memorable for many things but first and foremost for the domination of the German team. 26 victories in 29 events (including the FIS World Championship events of Lahti 2017) is an astonishing track record that is largely unparalleled, also in other FIS disciplines.
One of the highlights of the season was the fourth edition of the Nordic Combined Triple in Seefeld (AUT), which was a focal point. Other highlights included an extended trip to Asia which consisted of the Olympic test events in PyeongChang (KOR) followed by competitions in Sapporo (JPN). Furthermore, the World Cup finals in Schonach (GER) provided an outstanding finish to a fantastic season, with an all-time high in the demand for tickets and the Organisers rising above themselves to host an event with virtually no snow and spring temperatures.
Johannes Rydzek and Eric Frenzel crowned the German success season delivering a nail-biter of a duel throughout the entire winter. In the end, it was hard to determine who would be crowned the most successful athlete. Rydzek swept all four gold medals at the World Championships and earned the “Athlete of the Year” Award, while Frenzel won his fourth consecutive Triple and his fifth consecutive overall crystal globe. Never before has an athlete in Nordic Combined been as consistent over such a long period of time. With 41 World Cup victories, Frenzel is on good track to challenge the magical mark of 48 World Cup victories set by Nordic Combined legend Hannu Manninen (FIN).
The breakthrough athlete of the season was Eero Hirvonen (FIN). The 21-year-old celebrated his first podium result at the pre-World Championship World Cup event in Lahti (FIN) and finished eighth place in the overall World Cup standings. His performance was recognised with the “Rookie of the Year” Award at the Nordic Combined Awards in Schonach.
Also Vinzenz Geiger (GER) and Samuel Costa (ITA) climbed onto the podiums. Norwegian newcomer Espen Andersen narrowly missed a podium result with rank four but was often his nation’s best athletes, which is no small feat in a prestigious team like Norway. For Austria, Mario Seidl stepped up and closed the gap to the top group of athletes with a sixth place in the overall rankings.
One of the most cited stories of the winter, besides Rydzek and Frenzel’s big fight, was the return of Finnish legend Hannu Manninen. The 39-year-old returned after an absence of six years and juggling a full-time position as a pilot and his family, to support the Finnish team at the centennial championships in Lahti. Even without taking a medal, the impact of Manninen’s presence was deeply felt and appreciated.
Top Social Media post
The most popular post on Facebook was the last edition of the Nordic Combined Contest for the winter. 322 fans shared the picture wanting a chance to win the last of four venue gift packs. Paired with 219 reactions and 67 comments, this led to a winner interaction rate of 67.40 per 1000 fans.
The most liked post was the video recap of Akito Watabe’s Holmenkollen victory with 443 reactions, which reached 67’129 people.
Most watched “Behind the Scenes” video
The most watched “Behind the Scenes” on Facebook was “A new generation: Ladies in Nordic Combined” with 24’000 views, highlighting the huge interest in the development of the ladies’ side of the sport.