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Japanese twins back on top of Nordic combined podium

Winter Games 16 January 2023

Nordic combined, consisting of cross country skiing and ski jumping, has a long tradition of competition at the highest level, and that tradition continues at the Lake Placid 2023 FISU World University Games.

Following the individual Gundersen on Friday, the individual mass start took place Sunday with the women and men skiing five and 10 kilometres, respectively, before moving to the Olympic Jumping Complex.

Among the favourites to win the women’s event were 18-year-old twins Yuna and Haruka Kasai of Japan. They had shared the FISU podium two days before, with Haruka edging older sister Yuna for gold.

On Sunday, the roles were reversed.

Already in the lead after the cross country race, Yuna (picture on the left) added the longest jump of the day with a 91.5-metre effort, which increased her overall advantage.

Rounding out the podium in third place was Poland’s Joanna Kill.

“On Friday I didn’t get a good jump,” remembered Yuna. “Today, I had a great race as well as a great jump. It was a perfect day for me.

“It’s a nice feeling sharing a podium with my sister. Some nice memories.”

The men’s podium was also quite similar to Friday’s with Japan’s Sakutaro Kobayashi (main picture above) winning his second gold of the Games, once again over Niklas Malacinski of the USA.

Kobayashi was fifth after the 10-kilometre cross country race, more than a minute behind leader Malacinski. But the Japanese made up the ground with a jump of 100.5 metres, the best of the day by 11 metres.

“I felt good with my ski jumping coming to Lake Placid,” were the first thoughts from the 22-year-old winner. “I’m in good shape now and believed I could make a good jump.”

Team USA again had good results with Evan Nichols joining Malacinski on the podium.

“I had a phenomenal race today and, honestly, that carried me for the jumping part of the competition,” said 19-year-old Malacinski, who had the second best jump of 89.5 metres. “From here on, it’s just about improving the jumping.”

Nordic combined at Lake Placid 2023 continues on Tuesday with the men’s team sprint. The last of four events, the mixed team competition, is scheduled for Thursday.

Written by Miha Trošt, FISU Young Reporter

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