The Norwegian team won gold in the large hill/4x5km team event in the last Nordic combined competition at the 2022 Winter Olympics. The quartet of Espen Bjoernstad, Espen Andersen, Jens Luraas Oftebro and Joergen Graabak finished with a time of 50:45.1.
Norway’s Anderson performed a final jump that had the Norwegians starting second, eight seconds behind the Austrians for the cross-country skiing phase. Anderson had better technique than Austria’s Franz-Josef Rehrl, but was eight meters shy. He jumped to 133.5m to earn 119.7 points. The Norwegians came away from the large hill with a total of 469.4 points.
Ten teams of four athletes competed in the event. In the ski jumping phase, each athlete jumped once and a teams’ total points were calculated from adding up the scores from each team member. The teams started skiing in a staggered fashion based on the difference of scores. Each athlete skied two laps of 2.5km.
Germany's Vinzenz Geiger took silver and crossed the line 54.9 seconds behind Norway. They are the first nation to win a medal in six consecutive Nordic combined large hill/4x5km team events.
Japan started the cross-country race in fifth, 15 seconds behind first-place Austria. From the efforts of brothers Yoshito Watabe and Akito Watabe, Japan rounded out the podium 55.2 seconds later to claim bronze. The Japanese managed to maintain contact with the first chase group for the entirety of the race. It was the first time they earned a spot on the podium since 1994.
There was a moment when Andersen fell to fourth during the second leg of the race and it looked like Norway wouldn't find the podium. In Graabak’s anchor leg, he brought back hope and raced to first almost a minute before Germany.
Graabak is the first athlete to win the large hill/10km and large hill/4x5km team event twice at the same Olympics. He is also the only athlete to ever win four Winter Games golds in Nordic combined, bringing his Olympic medal tally to six gold medals.
Jarl Magnus Riiber of Norway was expected to compete in the team event, but suddenly took a flight home on Thursday right before the race. He was one and done after his tragic run in the large hill/10km event just two days prior when he effectively wiped out his 44-second lead after taking the wrong turn on the course.
The Austrians led the ski jumping phase with 475.4 points, and started the cross-country skiing first. They couldn't catch the first chase group and fell off the podium for fourth, crossing the line 59.6 seconds later. Johannes Lamparter couldn't live up to his billing as the reigning World Cup champion. Austria was able to find great height and distance off of the ramp, but lacked endurance for the skiing phase.
The large hill/5x4km team event brought the Nordic combined program at the 2022 Winter Olympics to a close.
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