Joergen Graabak brought Norway home for victory in the nordic combined team event to win his second gold of the Winter Olympics in Beijing.
The 30-year old obliterated the rest of the field in the cross-country skiing to win the fourth Olympic gold of his career, with 2018 champions Germany taking silver ahead of Japan, who beat Austria - the team which led after ski jumping.
Naturally, Norway would be the favourites for gold, with Graabak chasing a second title after winning the large hill/10km event and silver in the normal hill/10 km. Jarl Magnus Riiber, who had blown a chance to win individual gold when he went the wrong way in his race, was not involved. Reigning champions Germany also had high hopes with Vinzenz Geiger having pipped Graabak earlier in the Games.
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But Austria were to set the pace after the ski jumping, thanks to huge efforts from Franz-Josef Rehrl and 2021 world champion Johannes Lamparter in particular.
They took a 0.08 second advantage over Norway into the 4x5km cross-country relay, with Germany three seconds further back and Japan a second behind them.
By the end of the first 5km leg, Germany’s Manuel Faisst had given his team a 0.3 second lead over Japan, with Norway 4.6 seconds back. But Lamparter put Austria back in command by the second handover, with Espen Andersen clawing Norway back into contention and into silver medal position, 1.3 seconds behind.
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Jens Luraas Oftebro was too good for the rest of the field in the third leg, surging to a 10.4 second lead over Japan, who were only just leading Austria at the final exchange.
Graabak completed his bid for double gold with a dominant fourth leg, giving himself time to celebrate on the home straight to win by 54.9 seconds - but there was a big fight for the other medals.
Coming into the final 200m, Geiger was under pressure from Japan’s Ryota Yamamoto and Austria’s Martin Fritz, but Geiger held on strong to hold off the challenge, with Yamamoto battling to a superb bronze for Japan.
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'He's missed!' - Shock as Riiber goes wrong way to throw away gold
'He’s taken the wrong course!' – Riiber throws away gold with shocking error
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