ZHANGJIAKOU, China (AP) — Vinzenz Geiger of Germany won Olympic gold in Nordic combined on Wednesday, rallying from a 1-minute, 26-second deficit to cross the finish line first in a cross-country ski race 10 km after finishing 11th in ski jumping.
Joergen Graabak of Norway finished eight-tenths of a second behind to take silver. Lukas Greiderer of Germany took bronze after starting the cross-country phase of the competition in second place.
Ryota Yamamoto of Japan jumped 108 meters (354ft) and scored 133 points in the first part of the event, giving him a 38-second lead over the field, but passed out midway through the race grueling cross-country.
Austrian Johannes Lampater, the highest ranked, finished fourth.
In the sport that requires athletes to have ski jumping and cross-country skiing skills, the athlete who jumps the farthest and impresses the judges the most can start the cross-country portion of Nordic Combined Skiing with a lead.
The rest of the peloton follows, in order of arrival in ski jumping. The athlete who crosses the finish line first wins gold, and that was Geiger.
Four of the top seven Nordic combined athletes, including the runner-up Jarl Magnus Riiber of Norwayrecently tested positive for COVID-19 and did not participate in the normal hill and 10k run.
German Eric Frenzel, fifth and three-time Olympic champion, Estonian Kristjan Ilves, sixth, and German Terence Weber, seventh, also did not participate in the first of three medal events after testing positive.
Each of them can potentially return to the large hill on Tuesday and the team competition next Thursday.
Frenzel won gold on the normal hill at the 2018 Olympics and Rydzek won gold on the large hill.
Nordic Combined has been part of the Winter Olympics since the first edition in 1924. It is the only Olympic sport where only men compete.
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