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Norway grabs Olympic gold in team nordic combined

  |   Feb. 20, 2014 at 7:40 AM
SOCHI, Russia, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Joergen Grabaak edged Fabian Riessle by three-tenths of a second Thursday to give Norway the Olympic gold medal in team nordic combined.

The Norwegians had gone without a medal of any sort in the event over the last three Olympics, but they outdueled Germany and Austria in what was a close race throughout the 20 kilometers of cross-country skiing.

Germany held a narrow lead after a round of jumping on the large hill and was given a seven-second head start over Austria when the cross-country portion of the competition began. Norway started 25 seconds behind.

By the time the skiers completed the first of the five-kilometer cross-country legs, Norway had caught up and it was a tense race the rest of the way.

Magnus Hovdal Moan skied first for Norway, followed by Haavard Klemetsen, Magnus Krog and then Grabbak, who won the large hill individual nordic combined event at these Games.

Riessle, who took the bronze medal behind Grabbak on the large hill, started the final leg in a virtual dead heat with Grabbak while Austria's Mario Stecher was 1.7 seconds behind.

Grabbak and Riessle eased in front of Stecher over the final five kilometers and down the stretch Grabbak was about to outkick the German. Stecher finished 3.4 seconds behind for the bronze medal.

Austria had won the event at the previous two Olympics.

The United States won a silver medal in Vancouver, but finished sixth in this race.

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