Rydzek Sweeps to Third Gold

Tom Kelly
2017-03-01 12:22

LAHTI, Finland (Mar. 1, 2017) - Johannes Rydzek of Germany put on a late move to charge to a third-straight nordic combined gold medal at the Nordic World Ski Championships in Lahti. Bryan Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO) was 31st to lead the USA.

Ben Berend (Steamboat Springs, CO) continued his strong jumping, soaring 116.5 meters and into an early lead on the HS130m hill in the morning to finish 21st. Bryan Fletcher went 111.5 meters for 31st, starting cross country two minutes, 39 seconds back. Austria’s Mario Seidl threw down a towering 132.0-meter jump to take a commanding lead.

“The jump was great but the cool part is it wasn't even one of my best jumps over the last couple weeks,” said Berend. “It's a pretty awesome feeling when one of my average jumps can still put me in the mix.”

Ben Berend finished 21st during the HS130 jumping portion of Wednesday’s FIS Nordic World Ski Championships combined. (Getty Images-Matthias Hangst)

In the afternoon 10k, Seidl sent out alone and held his lead until late in the race when he was caught by the pack. Rydzek made his move out of the stadium and up the final hill, taking a solid win over Akito Watabe of Japan who took silver. 

Bryan Fletcher moved up through the ranks in cross country, catching Berend and finishing 31st. Brother Taylor Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO) was well back after the jump but moved up to 36th. Berend was 40th and Adam Loomis (Eau Claire, WI) 44th.

“Definitely a tough day on the course today,” Bryan Fletcher said. “Unfortunately we missed the skis a bit and I was unable to stay with the guys I wanted. But none the less, I am excited for the team sprint on Friday!”

“On the result sheet the cross country race was disappointing,” said Berend, who broke a pole on the first lap. “Mentally this was pretty frustrating. I lost a lot of time on the first two laps but I finally settled in and skied a strong last 5k. Obviously I came here looking for a lot more. However there are a ton of small takeaways. My jumping is at an incredibly high level. Every race I'm learning something new and gaining confidence. I hope to keep learning and show up to Seefeld World Champs as a much improved athlete."

Combined wraps up with the two-man team sprint on Friday.

HS130m ski jumping results
Overall results