KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — Eric Frenzel of Germany led after ski jumping and then powered home on the cross-country course to win the gold medal Wednesday in the Nordic combined individual normal hill at the Sochi Olympics.
Frenzel, last year's World Cup champion and this year's runaway leader, started the 10-kilometer cross-country race with a six-second advantage over Akito Watabe of Japan.
Watabe and Frenzel opened up an early lead of about 20 seconds on the rest of the pack, and then traded places a few times before Frenzel skied away in the final kilometer to win by 4.2 seconds. His time was 23 minutes, 50.2 seconds.
"I can't describe this feeling, it's so perfect," said Frenzel.
The silver went to Watabe in a time of 23:54.4. Magnus Krog of Norway earned the bronze in 23:58.3.
Watabe said he had nothing left at the end to chase Frenzel, who weighs just 60 kilograms (132 pounds) and was able to glide more easily over the soft snow on the course.
"I had no chance this time, I was really tired after the uphill," Watabe said. "I tried to beat him, that's the important thing."
Alessandro Pittin of Italy just missed repeating for the bronze medal, finishing 1.2 seconds behind Krog to take fourth.
Jason Lamy Chappuis of France, the defending gold medalist on the normal hill at Vancouver, finished 35th, 2 minutes, 37 seconds behind Frenzel.
"I was just trying to survive during the 10 kilometers," he said. "Right from the start my legs were not working well, the glide was not good. It has been a nightmare. I was passed by guys that I normally beat by a minute."
Using the Gundersen method, the skiers went off in staggered starts based on their performance in the ski jumping portion, all of them chasing Frenzel. Watabe started six seconds behind and 18 athletes had less than a minute handicap.