Austria Battles To Nordic Combined Gold

Romina Eggert
2017-02-02 19:02

PARK CITY, UT (Feb. 2, 2017) – Austria’s Mika Vermeulen skied his team to the gold medal in the anchor leg of the men’s Team HS100/4x5k at the USANA FIS Nordic Junior World Championships Thursday. France took the silver medal and the Czech Republic the bronze medal.

Japan soared to the lead in the morning jumping, followed closely by Germany. However, Germany’s Maximilian Pfordte fell after landing a jump of 93.5m and suffered knee injury. Pfordte did compete in the 5k in obvious pain, but unfortunately, much like Japan, he wasn’t able to hold off the faster skiers from Austria, France and the Czech Republic.

Team Combined third leg

Theo Rochat of France leads Florian Dagn of Austria in the third leg of the Team HS100/4x5k relay Thursday. (U.S. Ski Team-Tom Kelly)

In the 5k, Austria, France and Czech Republic stayed together throughout much of the race. Heading into the final leg, Austria and France held a small gap over the Czech Republic. But on the final leg, Vermeulen, who had already taken the silver medal in the 10k individual two days earlier, skated away from France’s Mael Tyrode to seal the win.

Lukas Danek from Czech Republic caught Tyrode and the two battled to the finish, with Tyrode slipping ahead in the final kilometer take the silver medal for France.

Team Austria

The Austrian team won the gold in the Team HS100/4x5k relay at the USANA FIS Nordic Junior World Championships Thursday. (U.S. Ski Team-Tom Kelly)

Team USA - Ben Loomis (Eau Claire, WI), Stephen Schumann (Park City, UT), Grant Andrews (Steamboat Springs, CO) and Elijah Vargas (Steamboat Springs, CO) – finished seventh.


  • Austria claimed the men’s Team HS100/4x5k gold medal at the USANA FIS Nordic Junior World Championships Thursday.
  • France took the silver medal and the Czech Republic won the bronze medal.
  • Team USA - Elijah Vargas, Grant Andrews, Ben Loomis and Stephen Schumann - finished seventh.
  • The final Nordic Combined event of the USANA FIS Nordic Junior World Championships, the individual HS100/5k takes pace Saturday.


Team Podium

Austria won the gold, France took the silver medal and the Czech Republic the bronze medal. (FIS-Romina Eggert)

Samuel Mraz (Austria)
We had four really good jumps on the hill this morning, that put is into a very good position for the race. We’re all good cross country skiers and everyone did his very best, so we were able to send Mika Vermeulen out on the first position. And Mika is just Mika obviously (smiles). We also had very good skis, so we would like to thank our service team very much.

Laurent Muhlethaler (France)
Winning a medal at the Junior World Championships was our goal before we came here, but really fulfilling it is something totally different and absolutely incredible.

Lilian Vaxelaire (France)
This morning we had four solid jumps on the hill. During the race we managed to close the gap to the Japanese guys in front very quickly and to stay together with the Austrian team throughout the whole race.

Jan Vytrval (Czech Republic)
It was a great race. We did really well on the ski jumping hill and also on the cross country track. We’re very happy about winning the bronze medal. You do not come in third in Junior World Championships every day.

Ondrej Pazout (Czech Republic)
We would also like to thank our service men.

Stephen Schumann (USA)
I knew Team Germany and Team Norway were fast, and I was the anchor leg, so I knew everyone around me was going to be fast. So my goal was to keep up with Germany’s Vinzenz Geiger, we started together and I was with him the entire first lap. Going into the second lap he turned it on and I couldn’t hold on. He took off and that was that.

[On improving at this year’s World Championships]
Last year (at the Junior World Championships) I was 31st in the 10k individual, and this year, on Tuesday, I was able to get 10th place. I think that testament to my coaches helping me out. I’ve got a lot faster on the skiing side, better jumping all around, so yeah, everything has improved a little bit.

[On skating the anchor leg]
Its pretty nerve wracking honestly, going in knowing you’re they guy that has to come out with a good race to finish it off for the team and bring in a good result. It’s stressful, but at the same time, it’s an honor to be able to be the guy that everyone trusts to finish the race for them.

[On Saturday’s individual HS100/5k]
I know I’m going to have to jump better (in the 5k). In the 10k I started 28th, and I know I’m going to have to start in the top 15 if I’m going to improve on my top 10. The race, it’s 5k, so it’s completely different. Some guys are a lot stronger in the 5k, so I’m just going to have to recover well these next couple of days and see what I can do on Saturday.

Men's Team HS100/4x5 Km