Olympic Nordic Combined: Ackermann: One step away from glory

Nordic combined, exclusively for men, combines ski jumping and cross country skiing, thus requiring flexibility and endurance.

Norway and Finland dominate in the past winter Olympics with 11 and four gold medals respectively. In 2002, Finland swept all three titles, of which Samppa Lajunen bagged two in sprint and Gundersen.

However, in the 2005 World Championships, Germany took all by surprise to win two golds and two silvers, while Austria surged to take two bronzes.

In Turin, Finland and Norway will take on the challenges from the two powers.

Austria's Felix Gotwald earned the bronze medal sprint in 2002 and placed third in Gundersen in last year's World Championships. The 30-year-old will line up for his fourth Olympics.

Ronny Ackermann of Germany, the Gundersen winner at the 2005 World Championships, netted silver medals in the team and sprint events in 2002. He will have a chance at the gold in the Gundersen.

In addition, Finland's Hannu Manninen has returned for his fourth Olympics. He came by a gold in the team event at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games.

The Nordic events will take place at Pragleto, about 80 kilometers from Turin.

Source: Xinhua

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