The ranks from the ski jumping portion of the large hill/10km nordic combined competition had no impact on predicting the winner of the overall event. Norway’s Joergen Graabak performed a final jump off the large hill ramp that brought him to 12th place. He rallied in the 10km cross-country race to win Olympic gold after starting 2:07 down on his compatriot Jarl Magnus Riiber. Graabak crossed the line at 27:13.3 and previously won gold in the large hill/10km event at the 2014 Games in Sochi at 22:45.5. His gold medal finish on Tuesday solidified him as the first two-time winner of the large hill/10km in Olympic history.
Graabak was defeated out of the top 10 in the large hill by favorites Manuel Faisst of Germany, Ryota Yamamoto of Japan and Johannes Lamparter of Austria. Lamparter came into the 2022 Winter Olympics as the reigning overall World Cup champion for the 2021-2022 season. However, none of the favorites made it onto the podium at the end of the 10km cross-country race. It was Graabak who took gold and was joined by compatriot Jens Luraas Oftebro with silver after he placed 10th in the large hill. Oftebro finished the race at 27:13.7 and Japan’s Akito Watabe took the last step of the podium and won bronze at 27:13.9. The top three were separated by 0.6 seconds.
Graabak wouldn’t have been in contention for a gold medal if Riiber didn’t make a colossal miscalculation on the course.
Riiber placed first in the ski jumping portion of the event and earned a 44 second lead in the 10km, which he brought to nearly a minute. His colossal lead was short lived when he took the wrong turn on the course through the first stadium loop and went to the start-finish zone instead of continuing his lap. The mistake cost Riiber gold and his lead was brought down to less than 10 seconds. Before efficiently wiping out his own lead, Riiber won three consecutive overall World Cup titles and 43 of his 57 individual World Cup races, a 75% success rate.
Riiber and Graabak will have another opportunity to clinch Olympic gold in the last Nordic combined. The men’s team event gets underway on Feb. 17 at 2:00 a.m. ET to close out the Nordic combined competition at the 2022 Winter Olympics.
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