Frenzel pulls off nordic combined upset at worlds
Germany's Eric Frenzel and Austria's Thomas Morgenstern notched their country's first wins, and Norway's Marit Bjoergen stormed to her second gold medal at the nordic world skiing championships on Saturday.
Morgenstern landed a 107-metre jump to win the normal hill ski jump over fellow Austrian Andreas Kofler, while Bjoergen again delighted a large home crowd with a powerful display in the 15-kilometre cross-country pursuit.
But it was Frenzel who caused the upset of the day when he beat another German, Tino Edelmann, to win the Nordic combined normal hill event.
Frenzel lies fifth in the World Cup standings and had not recorded a win all season. A spectacular 109.5-metre ski jump gave him a 19-second head start for the 10-kilometre cross-country race, a lead he guarded all the way to the line.
"It hasn't really sunk in yet," said Frenzel. "It was unbelievable to be No. 1 at the start and the finish."
Edelmann, a three-time silver medallist at the last worlds, trailed in sixth after the jump but surged through the cross-country field to finish 11.9 seconds behind.
Felix Gottwald of Austria was third, 18.4 seconds back. Gottwald and Edelmann touched skis on the final approach, causing the Austrian to fall and lose ground.
"Tino didn't mean it," said Gottwald. "It's already forgotten."
American Olympic champion Billy Demong finished seventh, one place ahead of teammate Todd Lodwick. Demong clocked the fastest cross-country time but was unable to make up a 1:47 deficit after placing 29th with his jump.
Race favourite Jason Lamy Chappuis, the Frenchman who tops the World Cup standings, surprisingly fell to 15th despite landing the third-best jump.
Bjoergen won her sixth career world championship gold, beating Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland in the women's pursuit.
The Norwegian, unbeaten in a distance race since the Vancouver Olympics, sprinted clear of Kowalczyk on the final downhill to cross the line in 38 minutes 8.6 seconds.
On Thursday, Bjoergen won the 1.3-kilometre cross-country sprint.
"That's two golds in two races," said Bjoergen. "It's been an amazing championships so far."
Kowalczyk, who won pursuit gold in Liberec two years ago, trailed by 7.5 seconds.
Therese Johaug of Norway was third, 8.8 seconds back.
The two Norwegians and Kowalczyk pulled away from the rest of the field after five kilometres and the trio never looked in danger of being caught.
After the race, Kowalczyk put the Norwegians on the defensive with suggestions that Johaug had blocked her path as she tried to keep pace with Bjoergen coming into the stadium.
"I tried to go after Marit but Therese stopped me; not once, not twice, but three or four times."
Johaug denied deliberately trying to hinder the Pole's chances of catching Bjoergen.
"If I did that it wasn't my intention," said Johaug.
In the men's ski jump, Morgenstern nailed the longest of the day to win gold over Andreas Kofler.
Kofler put pressure on his teammate with a 105-metre jump in the final round on the normal hill at Holmenkollen.
But Morgenstern, a four-time team world champion, hit 107 metres with the last jump of the competition to seal the win.
"It was an awesome day for me," said Morgenstern. "Even the weather was right. When I woke up this morning I hoped for snow and no wind, and that's how it was."
Kofler claimed he knew the moment his skis left the hill that his second jump was good enough to put him on the podium.
"I knew it was a medal but I didn't know the colour," said Kofler.
Two-time Vancouver silver medallist Adam Malysz of Poland was third, finishing 4.6 points clear of Swiss Olympic champion Simon Ammann.
An Austrian team featuring Morgenstern and Kofler is favourite to win the first team event when the jumpers take to the normal hill for the second time on Sunday. The fourth day of finals will also feature the men's 30-kilometre cross-country pursuit.
The championships run through March 6.