Before the event started, the men’s individual normal hill was largely impacted by COVID-19. When top contenders, Germany’s Eric Frenzel and Norway’s Jarl Magnus Riiber, tested positive and were pulled from the event, new hope arose for Vinzenz Geiger of Germany. Geiger placed third in the World Cup standings and won gold in the men’s team event prior to coming to the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Geiger made a comeback after a difficult jump phase and crossed the line with a final time of 25:07.7 to win his first Olympic gold. His jump earned him 11th place after losing stability and control in the air. The start time to his cross-country phase was influenced and was set minute and 26 seconds after Ryota Yamamoto of Japan started.
Yamamoto flew to an early lead as he soared off the take-off table to first place. He jumped the farthest distance out of 44 competitors, going 108.0m and earning 133.0 points. This huge jump also set a new hill record. Yamamoto tried to maintain his lead and started the cross-country leg strong, but slipped behind the pack to lose his lead in the middle of the race. He could not keep up with Norway’s Joergen Graabak who took silver and Austria’s Lukas Greiderer who took bronze. Yamamoto finished in 14th place.
Geiger’s teammate Johannes Rydzek was primarily leading the race after passing Austria’s Johannes Lamparter. However, Rydzek’s lead ended abruptly on the final incline when he couldn’t keep his tempo and speed up. Geiger surged and propelled himself forward from third to first, making his way to the front with Graabak.
The United States entered Stephen Schumann, Ben Loomis, Jared Shumate and Taylor Fletcher in the event. Loomis was the top finisher for the U.S. squad in ski jumping and placed 17th with a jump distance of 94.5m. He started a minute and 50 seconds behind Yamamoto and jumped to 15th overall. Yamamoto finished in 14th.
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