Combiners win a medal
Geiger’s race to catch up ends with a silver sprint
02/17/2022 12:52 p.m
The German Nordic combined athletes can celebrate a silver medal in their last Olympic competition in Beijing: Because Vinzenz Geiger has made up for a deficit, Eric Frenzel can still celebrate. The most successful combined athlete had spent most of the games in quarantine.
The German Nordic Combined won the Olympic silver medal in the team competition in China. Manuel Faißt, Julian Schmid, Eric Frenzel, who was only released from the corona quarantine three days earlier, and Vinzenz Geiger only had to admit defeat to Norway. Surprisingly, bronze went to Japan. The gap between the Germans and gold was 54.9 seconds at the finish. For the team of national coach Hermann Weinbuch it was the second medal at these winter games after Geiger’s Olympic victory in the individual competition on the normal hill.
At temperatures around minus ten degrees in Zhangjiakou, the German combined athletes started the decisive cross-country race over 4 x 5 kilometers in third place. In ski jumping from the large hill, the teams from Austria and the Norwegians, who competed without their high-flyer Jarl Magnus Riiber after his corona infection, were slightly better.
Starting runner Faißt, who had moved up to the team, took the lead early on and handed it over to Schmid. The 22-year-old lost a little on Austria and Norway. When Frenzel started, he was 4.2 seconds behind the leader. The veteran fell further behind and sent back Geiger into fourth place, 36.9 seconds behind in first place and around 26 seconds on silver and bronze. The man from Oberstdorf showed a furious mileage and led the team onto the podium.
Frenzel, who had tested positive for the corona virus when he entered China, had only trained on the gigantic ski jump for the first time the day before the competition. There and at the cross-country test, he convinced national coach Weinbuch. The experienced coach nominated the Saxon and did without the two-time Olympic champion from Pyeongchang, Johannes Rydzek. The 33-year-old, who kept fit during quarantine by jogging in the room and on the ergometer, jumped 132 meters. Only Geiger from the German team managed another set.
Special medal for Frenzel
On the running track, however, Frenzel was not as strong as usual. After his run he Frenzel was completely exhausted in the snow for a long time. Even later, after Geiger’s finish, he didn’t celebrate at first. National coach Weinbuch later gave the first all-clear: “Eric has exhausted himself completely, Corona will probably have played his part,” he said on ARD. “He’s getting better now.”
The record world champion has already won the seventh Olympic medal of his career. After the hard days of isolation, this should have a very special meaning, even if it didn’t go gold like once in 2014 and twice in 2018. Frenzel’s mother, who works as an educator, was excited about her work with the children.
With two medals now, the German combined athletes can leave the Winter Games satisfied – especially since they had to cope with two Corona cases. In addition to Frenzel, teammate Terence Weber, who was replaced by Faißt, also tested positive in Beijing. As expected, the Weinbuch team did not come close to the formidable yield of four years ago in South Korea. At that time, the ski jump and running all-rounders had won three golds, one silver and one bronze.