January 16, 2023 | at the FISU Winter University Games
Nordic combined, consisting of cross-country skiing and ski jumping, has a long tradition of competition at the highest level, and this tradition continues at the 2023 FISU World University Games in Lake Placid.
After the Gundersen individual race on Friday, the individual mass start took place on Sunday, with the men and women skiing 5 and 10 kilometers respectively before moving to the Olympic Jumping Complex.
Among the favorites to win the women’s event were 18-year-old twins Yuna and Haruka Kasai from Japan. Two days earlier, they shared the FISU podium, and Haruka was fighting for the gold with her older sister Yuna.
On Sunday, the roles were reversed.
Already leading after the cross-country run, Yuna (pictured left) added the longest jump of the day with an effort of 91.5 meters, extending her overall lead.
The third place on the podium was completed by Joanna Kill.
“I didn’t have a good jump on Friday,” recalls Yuna. “Today I had a great race and also a great jump. It was a perfect day for me.
“It feels nice to share the podium with my sister. Some nice memories.
The men’s podium was also quite similar to Friday’s, where Japan’s Sakutaro Kobayashi (main photo above) won his second Olympic gold, once again defeating Niklas Malaci?ski of the USA.
Kobayashi was fifth after the 10km cross-country run, more than a minute behind leader Malacinski. But the Japanese made up for the losses with a jump of 100.5 meters, the best of the day at 11 meters.
“I felt good about ski jumping coming to Lake Placid”, is the first thought of the 22-year-old winner. “I’m in good shape now and I believed I could make a good jump.”
Team USA again performed well, with Evan Nichols joining Malaci?ski on the podium.
“I had a phenomenal race today and to be honest it helped me win some of the show jumping events,” said 19-year-old Malaci?ski, who had the second best jump of 89.5 metres. “From now on, it’s just about improving your jumps.”
The 2023 Lake Placid nordic combined will continue on Tuesday with the men’s team sprint. The final of the four events, the mixed teams competition, is scheduled for Thursday.
Written by Miha Trošt, FISU Young Reporter
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