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Frenzel wins Olympic nordic combined

Feb. 12, 2014 at 8:24 AM

SOCHI, Russia, Feb. 12 (UPI) -- Eric Frenzel of Germany captured the jumping portion of the event Wednesday and then finished strong in the cross country to win the Olympic nordic combined.

This was the first of three nordic combined competitions at the Sochi Games, one that began with a trip down the normal ski jumping hill and then sent the athletes out on 10 kilometers of cross-country skiing.

Frenzel is the current world champion in the large hill event, which will be held later in these Games, and was the decided favorite.

He had to come from behind late on the skiing course, however, to defeat Japan's Akito Watabe. Magnus Krog finished third.

Frenzel jumped 131.5 meters to move into first place midway through the event and Watabe went 130 meters to finish second.

Frenzel thus had a six-second head start on Watabe in the cross-country race and no one else started until Frenzel had been on the course for 27 seconds.

Given his high-quality skiing skills, Frenzel had a decided advantage in his bid to capture the gold.

It was a two-man race for first place and Watabe had the lead with a kilometer to go. Frenzel, however, had a much stronger finishing kick and he surged past Watabe as they came into the stadium.

Watabe was unable to match Frenzel's closing burst and finished 4.2 seconds behind. Krog wound up 8.1 seconds back, followed by Allesandro Pittin of Italy and Magnus Hovdal Moan of Norway. Pittin was the bronze medalist four years ago and Moan won the bronze four years before that.

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