Norway hold off Germany for dramatic team win

Thu Feb 20, 2014 8:39am EST
 
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By David Ljunggren

ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (Reuters) - Norway scraped the narrowest of wins in a dramatic finish to the Olympic Nordic combined men's team event on Thursday, holding off Germany to grab the gold by 0.3 seconds.

Coming into the stadium at the end of the 4 x 5 km cross-country relay race, Norway's Joergen Graabak was just ahead of Fabian Riessle.

Graabak had been in the same position during Tuesday's individual large hill event and pulled away to win easily. When he tried the same move on Thursday, Riessle stuck with him and Graabak barely found the strength to hold on.

"I've had a lot of good sprints this year and I knew if I was the first one into the stadium I was pretty confident that I'd be the first one over the finish line," Graabak told reporters.

"I saw behind me that Riessle was throwing his foot forward, but I was confident that I was first."

Defending champions Austria were third, 3.4 seconds behind the Norwegians.

The win capped an excellent Olympics for the Norwegian Nordic combined squad, who had already won gold and silver in the individual large hill and a bronze on the normal hill.

Given the Norwegians' excellence on the race course the German performance was admirable, especially because world number one Eric Frenzel was still suffering the after-effects of a virus.   Continued...

 
First placed Norway's team members (5th L to 8th L) Magnus Hovdal Moan, Haavard Klemetsen, Magnus Krog and Joergen Graabak jump on the podium as second placed Germany's team members (L to 4th L) Eric Frenzel, Bjoern Kircheisen, Johannes Rydzek, Fabian Riessle, and third placed Austria's team members (9th L to R) Austria's Lukas Klapfer, Austria's Christoph Bieler, Austria's Bernhard Gruber and Austria's Mario Stecher look on, during the flower ceremony for the Nordic Combined team Gundersen event of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games, at the RusSki Gorki Ski Jumping Center in Rosa Khutor, February 20, 2014. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach