Austrian duo shock competition, lead heading into cross-country

NORDIC-COMBINED-OLY-2018-PYEONGCHANG

In a major plot twist, it was an unheralded Austrian duo that ended the German’s PyeongChang dominance.

The Austrian duo of Josef-Franz Rehrl and Lukas Klapfer shocked the completion, finishing the ski jumping portion of the individual normal hill/10km in first and fourth place, respectively.

Rehrl landed a 112.0-meter beauty for 130.6 points, while Klapfer lagged behind at 122.6.

The 33-year old Klapfer held tight in the 2-spot for most of the event before being overtaken by Norway’s Jarl Magnus Riiber, who finished 2nd with 126.9 points, and Japan’s Akito Watabe in third at 123.7 points. ​

​Before Wednesday​’s event, Germany had swept the ski jumping events with Andreas Wellinger winning the normal hill competition and Katharina Althaus winning the silver in the women’s normal hill event.

The Nordic combined is comprised of two portions: ski jumping and later in the day, cross-country.

The individual normal hill/10 km event will conclude with the cross-country portion at 4 a.m. ET Wednesday.

Thanks to a Norwegian named Gunder Gundersen – yes, really – scoring is very simple. The Gundersen method converts a ski jumper’s total points to seconds. That time then determines an athlete’s starting time behind the leader for the cross-country portion. Whoever jumps the farthest starts first, while the other athletes are delayed based on their own times.

Heading into the 10km cross-country race that will determine the medalists, ​Rehrl will start 15 seconds ahead of Riiber, while Klapfer will begin 32 seconds behind his countryman.

Four U.S. athletes are competing in the event: Bryan and Taylor Fletcher, Ben Loomis and Jasper Good. Through the ski jumping portion, Bryan Fletcher leads the team in 18th place (two minutes, 6 seconds back) , Loomis in 37th (3:24), Taylor in 39th (3:37) and Good in last place, 47th (4:00).

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