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Olympics: Norway at home in the rain for combined gold

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(GlobalPost/GlobalPost)

Norway on Tuesday took gold and silver in the large hill nordic combined at the Sochi Olympics, with the medallists saying the bleak and rainy conditions reminded them of home.

Joergen Graabak took gold, finishing the ski phase in 23min 27.5sec with his compatriot Magnus Moan taking silver 0.6sec behind. Bronze went to Fabian Riessle of Germany.

Germany's normal hill Sochi gold-medal winner Eric Frenzel won the ski jumping phase and set off first on the decisive cross-country ski. However, beset by a virus in the last days, he slipped back to 10th.

Both the jumping and skiing phases took place in humid and rainy conditions that the Norwegians said reminded them of their home base of Trondheim, on the coast in central Norway.

"We're a bit used to this kind of weather in Trondheim -- rain, a bit grey," said Graabak.

"We were discussing this in the car on the way to the arena today that it was a bit like home, and I guess we took advantage."

Moan added: "Trondheim is on the coast in Norway and we are used to training in a lot of rain, so this was like a little bonus for us."

But he expressed satisfaction over the quality of the ski jump and the cross country skiing tracks.

"Big respect to the organisation that made this possible. It was fun to jump and ski today."

Nordic combined -- a combination of the ski jump and cross country skiing -- is now the sole sport at the Winter Olympics that is only open for men.

In this format of the event, the ski jumping determines the start time for each competitor in the cross country skiing, which is run as a first-past-the-post pursuit race.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/140218/olympics-norway-at-home-the-rain-combined-gold