The heat is back on: SGP 2014
about to get under way
With not even one week left to the first competition
of the FIS Nordic Combined Summer Grand Prix 2014,
it’s time to switch back into competition mode for
athletes, officials and fans alike.
A dense two week period with five competitions and
three qualifications in the course of nine days
is scheduled from the 22nd of August onwards in
the traditional summer resorts of Oberwiesenthal,
Villach and Oberstdorf. The five competitions will
feature three different formats: the Team Sprint,
the Individual Gundersen and the Final Individual
Gundersen with 2 jumps and 15 kilometres of roller-skiing
for the Top 30 athletes of the summer.
Most of the top stars set to start
That the battle for Nordic Combined’s Grand Prix
title is anything but a meaningless activity next
to summer training can be seen from the start list.
A total of 14 nations are expected at the first
venue Oberwiesenthal and the registration lists
reads like a who is who of the sport: Olympic and
Word Champion Eric Frenzel will delight his home
audience together with other German big names like
Tino Edelmann or Fabian Riessle. French superstar
Jason Lamy Chappuis will lead his full World Championship
gold-winning team of Francois Baud, Sebastien Lacroix
and Maxime Laheurte into battle.
With strong competitors in both parts, the competitions
are set to be anything but dull. Gifted jumpers
Haavard Klemetsen, Jan Schmid and Thomas Kjelbotn
from Norway will battle out the intermediate leads
with Czech rising star Tomas Portyk, Christoph Bieler,
Yoshito Watabe and Russian jumping sensation Evgeniy
Klimov. On the roller-ski tracks, they will have
to watch their backs for lightning-fast skiers Bjo"rn
Kircheisen, Hugo Buffard or Olympic bronze medallist
Magnus Krog or the Austrian team around veteran
Mario Stecher and Lukas Klapfer.
Jurgen Graabak vs. Johannes Rydzek
And also last season’s hottest duel, Norwegian Olympic
Champion J?rgen Graabak vs. German overall World
Cup runner-up Johannes Rydzek will see it’s sequel
this summer. „It is a highlight that J?rgen and
the Norwegian team are on the start“, Rydzek states.
„Now we can have a first test where we both stand
and what might happen in this duel between us when
the winter comes. I definitely have to see how my
level of performance is right now because I have
put my focus on my studies in the past few weeks
and months. I think there’s still some room for
improvement for me on the hill and tracks but I
also did not have that many chances to compare to
somebody as of now.“
Room for improvement - a situation that also Rydzek’s
arch-rival Graabak sees for himself: „I have suffered
from a couple of badly timed injuries the last period
but now I am fully back in the game. Hopefully I
can perform well, and if I do I will be in the race,
but for me to be victorious in the Summer Grand
Prix is rather unlikely. But if I have the chance
I will take it!“ So one thing is for sure: both
competitors do not want to put their cards on the
table just yet.
5th Oberstdorf win in a row for Rydzek?
Meanwhile, German Johannes Rydzek will also be facing
a trial of another kind. The resident of Oberstdorf
can make it a great five years in a row that he
has at least won one summer competition in his hometown.
„My home competitions always are a big highlight
for me and I will try to use all power I have. If
I succeed in that, everything will be possible.
Maybe even that fifth win!“
Milestone for Ladies Nordic Combined
With a stable set of rules and competition formats,
there will be close to no testing going on in the
Summer Grand Prix of 2014. Instead the focus will
be on the future of the discipline itself: The 12th
edition of the FIS Nordic Combined Youth Grand Prix
comprises a training camp for Nordic Combined’s
youngsters - for the first time for boys AND girls
-, two days of international competitions and the
chance to get a close look at the current top stars
of the discipline.
With this program, Nordic Combined will pass a historic
milestone when the first ever international Ladies
Nordic Combined competitions takes place at the
finale stage of the Summer Grand Prix in Oberstdorf
at the 29th and 30th of August.