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TORINO: NC: Germany's Hettich wins first medal; favorite Manninen struggles


TORINO: NC: Germany’s Hettich wins first medal; favorite Manninen struggles{mosimage}PRAGELATO, Italy – Georg Hettich picked the right time and the right place to score his maiden nordic combined victory.

Hettich upset the favorites to snatch the gold medal in the individual event Sunday at the Winter Games with a powerful surge on the final uphill.

”I am very surprised, I still haven’t realized fully what I’ve done,” Hettich said.

”On the final uphill I thought I could get a medal, 15 meters from the line I thought I could get the gold.”

The 27-year-old German held on to his slim lead from the ski-jumping portion and crossed the line of the 15-kilometer cross-country race in 39 minutes, 44.6 seconds, holding off Felix Gottwald of Austria, who finished 9.8 second behind to take the silver.

Norway’s Magnus Moan took home the bronze in a photo finish with countryman Petter Tande.

Finland’s Hannu Manninen, the leading nordic combined competitor in recent years with 11 World Cup victories this season, finished ninth — leaving him still without an individual medal in his fourth and probably final Olympics.

Manninen, Moan and Gottwald were in a group trying to come from behind. By the time Gottwald and Moan realized that Manninen wasn’t having a good day, it was too late for their move.

Hettich has never won a World Cup event, although he had a silver medal with the German team four years ago at Salt Lake City.

He had jumps of 101.5 and 104 meters on the normal hill earlier in the day for 262.5 points. That gave Hettich a two-second head start over Tande in the cross-country race.

Hettich, Tande and Jaakko Tallus of Finland led away in the race, swapping places in the lead.

Behind, Manninen was struggling to keep up with the pace and made no progress in cutting his deficit of 1 minute, 38 seconds from the ski jumping portion. Two-thirds into the race, Manninen was clearly spent. He finished 1:35.6 behind.

In the front, Tallus began to drop off, while Gottwald and Moan were catching up from behind, having started more than a minute and half after Hettich.

”I wasn’t thinking of winning, I was just trying to take kilometer by kilometer,” Hettich said.

Gottwald shook off Moan and caught up with Hettich with one kilometer to go.

On the final uphill, the German made his move and Gottwald couldn’t follow.

”I tried to save some strength for the final uphill. In the middle of the hill, I saw that nothing happened and I knew I had to go and I saw that only Felix was behind me,” Hettich said.

Gottwald said he tried to follow, but couldn’t quite keep up.

”I was really hurting at the finish,” Gottwald said. ”I had to close the gap and I had to start fast.”

The Austrian added silver to the three bronze medals he won four years ago.

Gottwald said by the time he and Moan realized Manninen couldn’t follow them, it was too late.

”We closed the gap really late,” he said.

Moan said if they had made their move earlier, the result may have come out different.

”I was hoping to make Hannu do the work, but he didn’t have the greatest day so we had to all the work. Maybe it came too late,” said Moan, who edged Tande by one-tenth of a second.

Tallus finished fifth.

Hettich said that while he wasn’t thinking of winning gold during the race, his two fourth-place finishes in individual events at the World Championship last year did cross his mind.

”I was thinking, ‘Just not a fourth place again,”’ he said. ”Either a medal or fifth or sixth, but not fourth again.”

Normal-hill individual 15 km

1. Georg Hettich, Germany (1, 262.5, 0; 18, 39:44.6), 39:44.6, 0.0.

2. Felix Gottwald, Austria (11, 234.5, 1:52; 2, 38:02.4), 39:54.4, 9.8.

3. Magnus-H. Moan, Norway (9, 237.5, 1:40; 3, 38:20.8), 40:00.8, 16.2.

4. Petter L. Tande, Norway (2, 262.0, 2; 22, 39:58.9), 40:00.9, 16.3.

5. Jaakko Tallus, Finland (3, 257.0, 22; 13, 39:39.9), 40:01.9, 17.3.

6. Sebastian Haseney, Germany (28, 212.5, 3:20; 1, 37:15.7), 40:35.7, 51.1.

7. Bjoern Kircheisen, Germany (16, 224.0, 2:34; 4, 38:21.1), 40:55.1, 1:10.5.

8. Todd Lodwick, United States (13, 232.0, 2:02; 6, 38:54.6), 40:56.6, 1:12.0.

9. Hannu Manninen, Finland (8, 238.0, 1:38; 14, 39:42.2), 41:20.2, 1:35.6.

10. Sergej Maslennikov, Russia (5, 251.0, 46; 30, 40:44.2), 41:30.2, 1:45.6.

11. Jason Lamy Chappuis, France (3, 257.0, 22; 37, 41:12.0), 41:34.0, 1:49.4.

12. Michael Gruber, Austria (7, 248.5, 56; 34, 40:51.9), 41:47.9, 2:03.3.

13. Christoph Bieler, Austria (5, 251.0, 46; 36, 41:05.3), 41:51.3, 2:06.7.

14. Giuseppe Michielli, Italy (21, 219.5, 2:52; 7, 39:13.5), 42:05.5, 2:20.9.

15. Bill Demong, United States (19, 220.0, 2:50; 8, 39:18.5), 42:08.5, 2:23.9.

16. Norihito Kobayashi, Japan (23, 217.0, 3:02; 9, 39:21.1), 42:23.1, 2:38.5.

17. Antti Kuisma, Finland (22, 217.5, 3:00; 12, 39:33.8), 42:33.8, 2:49.2.

18. Ronny Ackermann, Germany (26, 213.5, 3:16; 15, 39:42.9), 42:58.9, 3:14.3.

19. Mario Stecher, Austria (17, 223.0, 2:38; 25, 40:21.2), 42:59.2, 3:14.6.

20. Havard Klemetsen, Norway (15, 229.0, 2:14; 31, 40:46.5), 43:00.5, 3:15.9.

21. Pavel Churavy, Czech Republic (31, 210.0, 3:30; 17, 39:44.2), 43:14.2, 3:29.6.

22. Seppi Hurschler, Switzerland (30, 211.0, 3:26; 20, 39:52.4), 43:18.4, 3:33.8.

23. Andreas Hurschler, Switzerland (39, 193.5, 4:36; 5, 38:45.9), 43:21.9, 3:37.3.

24. Ronny Heer, Switzerland (26, 213.5, 3:16; 23, 40:11.0), 43:27.0, 3:42.4.

25. Anssi Koivuranta, Finland (18, 220.5, 2:48; 32, 40:49.3), 43:37.3, 3:52.7.

26. Ludovic Roux, France (29, 211.5, 3:24; 24, 40:18.6), 43:42.6, 3:58.0.

27. Ivan Rieder, Switzerland (14, 230.0, 2:10; 39, 41:48.6), 43:58.6, 4:14.0.

28. Ivan Fesenko, Russia (25, 215.0, 3:10; 33, 40:51.3), 44:01.3, 4:16.7.

29. Alexsej Barannikov, Russia (37, 194.0, 4:34; 19, 39:46.3), 44:20.3, 4:35.7.

30. Johnny Spillane, United States (19, 220.0, 2:50; 38, 41:37.6), 44:27.6, 4:43.0.

31. Nicolas Bal, France (42, 188.5, 4:56; 11, 39:32.9), 44:28.9, 4:44.3.

32. Yosuke Hatakeyama, Japan (10, 235.0, 1:50; 45, 42:39.8), 44:29.8, 4:45.2.

33. Tambet Pikkor, Estonia (42, 188.5, 4:56; 16, 39:43.9), 44:39.9, 4:55.3.

34. Jochen Strobl, Italy (41, 190.5, 4:48; 21, 39:54.3), 44:42.3, 4:57.7.

35. Kristian Hammer, Norway (44, 183.0, 5:18; 10, 39:32.8), 44:50.8, 5:06.2.

36. Ladislav Rygl, Czech Republic (34, 198.0, 4:18; 27, 40:40.7), 44:58.7, 5:14.1.

37. Tomas Slavik, Czech Republic (35, 196.5, 4:24; 26, 40:35.4), 44:59.4, 5:14.8.

38. Brett Camerota, United States (33, 203.5, 3:56; 35, 41:03.6), 44:59.6, 5:15.0.

39. Daniele Munari, Italy (35, 196.5, 4:24; 29, 40:42.3), 45:06.3, 5:21.7.

40. Damjan Vtic, Slovenia (23, 217.0, 3:02; 43, 42:34.9), 45:36.9, 5:52.3.

41. Jason Myslicki, Canada (32, 207.5, 3:40; 46, 42:41.0), 46:21.0, 6:36.4.

42. Francois Braud, France (37, 194.0, 4:34; 42, 42:28.3), 47:02.3, 7:17.7.

43. Takashi Kitamura, Japan (40, 192.5, 4:40; 44, 42:37.3), 47:17.3, 7:32.7.

44. Max Thompson, Canada (46, 171.5, 6:04; 40, 41:53.8), 47:57.8, 8:13.2.

45. Sergei Diyachuk, Ukraine (48, 151.0, 7:26; 28, 40:42.1), 48:08.1, 8:23.5.

46. Alessandro Pittin, Italy (47, 161.5, 6:44; 41, 42:06.2), 48:50.2, 9:05.6.

47. Patrik Chlum, Czech Republic (45, 182.5, 5:20; 48, 44:43.9), 50:03.9, 10:19.3.

48. Volodymyr Trachuk, Ukraine (49, 140.0, 8:10; 47, 43:45.2), 51:55.2, 12:10.6.

NR. Daito Takahashi, Japan, DNS.

TORIINO: Ski jump: On a day of DQs, Kuettel, Kofler lead qualifyingTORINO: NC: Disappointing opener for World Cup force Hannu Manninen

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