Frenzel a “50-50” chance for Nordic large hill
KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — Normal hill gold medalist Eric Frenzel has a virus and a high temperature and could miss Tuesday’s Nordic combined large hill final at the Sochi Olympics.
A member of the German team told Olympic officials Monday that a decision on whether Frenzel would compete would be delayed until Tuesday morning. Frenzel has dominated World Cup competition this season, with seven wins in 11 meets, and his absence would be a significant setback to Germany’s medal chances.
The 25-year-old Frenzel fell ill with a virus on Saturday night and has not trained since.
“Eric is ill. He has a fever,” German team press attache Florian Schwarz said. “He is not training today and the team doctor will make a decision tomorrow at 8 a.m. whether Eric starts in the individual or waits for the team event,” on Thursday.
Germany coach Hermann Weinbuch said after Monday’s ski jumping training that Frenzel’s chances of competing in the large hill were not good.
“I think there is little chance he will compete,” Weinbuch said. “It’s very hard to race here, so he must be strong. You are only a chance when you have all your power.”
Taylor Fletcher of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, said the competition would be poorer if Frenzel had to withdraw.
“Eric’s been dominating all year, he’s been jumping out of his mind,” Fletcher said. “It’s like starting the Super Bowl without your quarterback.”
In Frenzel’s absence, normal hill silver medalist Akito Watabe of Japan finished second and third on his two practice jumps Monday before passing in the third round.
Watabe finished just 4.2 seconds behind Frenzel, who led after the ski jump portion, when the 10-kilometer cross-country race ended last week in the normal hill event.
Haavard Klemetsen, the Norwegian who finished ninth in the normal hill event, had the best placings in the opening two rounds Monday before finishing fourth in the third when only 33 of 55 competitors jumped.
Defending champion Bill Demong of Park City, Utah, had two of his best training jumps in the past three days, placing eighth, 11th and 21st.
“Bill’s got a very good chance tomorrow,” Fletcher said. “He’s been jumping better and better.”