Frenzel leads Nordic combined large hill

BY foxsports • February 18, 2014

KRASYANA POLYANA, Russia (AP) Eric Frenzel of Germany overcame illness Tuesday to finish first in the ski jumping portion in Nordic combined at the Sochi Olympics and will take an eight-second lead into the 10-kilometer cross-country race.

German team officials on Monday said Frenzel had a high temperature and was only a ''50-50'' chance of competing. But Frenzel recovered enough to go for a 30-minute run Tuesday morning, convincing him he could compete.

He scored 129 points in the ski jump in often heavy rain, two better than Haavard Klemetsen of Norway. That means Frenzel started the cross-country portion of the event on his own and with that eight-second advantage over Klemetsen.

German team doctor Stefan Pecher said Frenzel was satisfied with his jump and ''he's feeling well.''

''He has no special tactics for the race because of the illness,'' Pecher said. ''He will just see what happens and decide there what to do.''

Third-place Bernhard Gruber of Austria will start 22 seconds after Frenzel, with normal hill silver medalist Akito Watabe of Japan and Jason Lamy Chappuis of France both 33 seconds later.

The rain was a first at the RusSki Gorki Jumping Center since the Sochi Games began. While organizers have in previous days used a synthetic material to fashion a palm tree on sunny days and a heart on Valentine's Day in the landing area, they turned it into dolphin Tuesday in keeping with the soggy theme.

The showers didn't appear to play a part in an injury to Japan's Taihei Kato, who broke his left arm after crashing. Kato landed awkwardly, lost his left ski and then fell hard on to his left elbow.

He was conscious and appeared to be in pain as he was taken off by medical officials to a local hospital. He was ruled out of the cross-country race and was doubtful for the team event Thursday.

Defending gold medalist Billy Demong of Park City, Utah, was 38th of 46 starters and the lowest-placed of four Americans. Demong faces an uphill fight Tuesday afternoon when he starts 2:18 behind Frenzel.

Bryan Fletcher and 37-year-old Todd Lodwick, both of Steamboat Springs, Colo., were set to start 1:59 and 2:01 after Frenzel.

''It is really tough out here ... the rain was really coming down,'' Fletcher said. ''I am a little disappointed. My jump wasn't the best.''

Bryan Fletcher's younger brother, Taylor, was in 35th place and will give Frenzel a head start of 2:13 on the 2.5-kilometer loop course.

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