Sochi has successfully staged round 12 of the 2012/2013 FIS Nordic Combined World Cup, with the event providing organisers of next year’s Winter Games with the chance to test many of the Olympic facilities that will be used in 12 months’ time.
The event, which was held from 2-3 February, saw Austria’s Bernhard Gruber win the Individual Gundersen competition, finishing 14.1 seconds ahead of Germany’s Eric Frenzel from Germany. Gruber's teammate Wilhelm Denifl finished third.
It was the first time in 23 years that the FIS Nordic Combined World Cup had been held in Russia, and the competitors were impressed by the facilities at the RusSki Gorki venue, which will stage the Nordic Combined competitions during next year’s Games.
“I’m so happy,” said Gruber, who also won Olympic gold in the 4x5km team event in Vancouver in 2010. “It’s the preparation for the Winter Games and here it’s fantastic. The track is very hard, but I like it and it’s wonderful.”
"I like this place here very much, everything around here is great,” added the 30-year-old. “For me it is a special feeling here because next year is the Olympic Winter Games. It is an important competition and I like it. I like the hill, I like the track and I can be very strong here."
Germany’s Manuel Faisst, Björn Kircheisen, Johannes Rydzek and Eric Frenzel later combined to win the team event, crossing the finish line 2.7 seconds ahead of the French team of Sebastien Lacroix, Francois Braud, Maxime Laheurte and Jason Lamy Chappuis. The team from Austria finished third.
The FIS World Cup was the first event at RusSki Gorki during which both the Nordic Combined track and the K-125 Olympic Ski Jump were used in competition. The dual facility enables spectators to watch both the ski jumping and cross-country skiing elements of the Nordic Combined event in the same venue.