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Big Six Win
Austrian becomes first athlete to win six career gold medals in men's Nordic combined
By Mariama Anderson-Dione
Scholastic Kids Press Corps

Austrian skiier Felix Gottwald soars through the air during his jump
Austria's Felix Gottwald soars through the air during his jump for the Nordic combined sprint competition at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games on February 21, 2006.

  • Check out the results in the alpine downhill event.
  • Take a look back at all of the cross-country excitement.

  • Follow all the action of moguls.

  • Learn all about skiing.


    (Photo: Giampiero Sposito/Reuters)
  • Tuesday, February 21—Felix Gottwald of Austria threw his arms in the air as he skied to the finish line and won the gold medal for men's Nordic combined. He became the first Nordic combined athlete to win six career gold medals.

    In men's Nordic combined, athletes compete in a downhill ski jump, then race in a 7.5 km sprint. Gottwald was in 12th place after the jump. He won the sprint by 5.4 seconds in front of silver medalist Magnus Moan of Norway. Georg Hettich of Germany won the bronze medal. Hettich was first in the downhill jump.

    The competitors for the U.S. were, Todd Lodwick, who placed ninth, Bill Demong, who placed 25th, and Eric Camerota, who came in 39th. Americans have never won a medal in the Nordic combined.







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    Austria's Mario Stecher (left) and Felix Gottwald (right) during the Nordic combined team ski jumping competition
    Austria's Mario Stecher (left) and Felix Gottwald (right) during the Nordic combined team ski jumping competition at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games on February 16, 2006.
    (Photo: Giampiero Sposito/Reuters)
    Another U.S. Ski Problem
    Americans lose Nordic combined relay to Austria, Germany, and Finland
    John Dixon
    Scholastic Kids Press Corps

    Thursday, February 16—America's Nordic combined relay team did not fare as well as hoped in today's 4 X 5 km event at the Winter Games in Torino, Italy. Bill Demong, Todd Lodwick, Johnny Spillane, and Carl Van Loan managed only a 7th place finish.

    Germany suffered a disappointment as well. The German team entered today's race with a 10.10 second lead, which they then stretched to 45 seconds. But Austria's Felix Gottwald skied a fantastic third leg, single-handedly cutting the German lead by 25 seconds.

    From there on, it was the Mario Stecher show. Stecher, already a silver medalist in the Nordic Individual event, systematically chased down and blew past his German rival, winning the gold for Austria.

    Germany narrowly managed to hold on to second and win the silver medal after a fierce challenge in the last leg by Finland. The relay team from Finland finished a strong third and took the bronze.

    Nordic combined competition resumes with the sprint final on Tuesday, February 21.


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    Germany's Georg Hettich jumps from the Large Hill
    Germany's Georg Hettich jumps from the Large Hill, during the Nordic Combined team Ski Jumping at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games on February 15, 2006.


    (Photo: Rick Bowmer/AP Wide World)
    German Leading in Men's Nordic Combined
    An impressive 104-meter jump gives Georg Hettich the top starting spot for the cross-country race in the Nordic Combined Men's Individual.
    By Kendra Oates
    Scholastic Kids Press Corps


    Saturday, February 11—In a small mountain area known as Pragelato today, the Nordic Combined Men's Individual was one of the first events to get the 2006 Winter Olympic Games going in Torino, Italy.

    Nordic Combined consists of two sports: ski jumping and cross-country skiing. During the first of two jumps, athletes earn a score based on the length of the jump. The second jump determines the order in which the athletes will start the cross-country race.

    Nordic Combined requires a lot of physical strength and determination. The U.S. sent top athletes to the competition: Todd Lodwick, Johnny Spillane, Bill Demong, and Brett Camerota were the highest ranked. Lodwick started as the favorite of the four after placing in the top three in the last two World Cup competitions.

    During the first round of ski jumping, all of the athletes did well. But by the end of the second round, Germany's Georg Hettich was in front with the longest jump, at 104 meters. That earned him the honor of being first in line to start the 15 km cross-country race.

    After 39 exhausting minutes, Hettich proved himself to be the best. He was the first to cross the finish line to win the gold medal. The silver medal went to Felix Gottwald of Austria. The race for bronze was called in a photo finish and went to Magnus Moan of Norway. Moan beat out his countryman, Petter Tande, by the toe of his boot to win third place.

    The Americans didn't fare so well. Lodwick came in eighth. Demong placed 15th, Spillane was 30th, and Camerota 38th.



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    Photos, left to right: © Rick Rickman/NewSport/NewSport/Corbis; © Joe Cavaretta/AP Wide World.