Host City: Innsbruck, Austria
Venue(s): Cross Country Skiing Stadium, Seefeld; Nordic Combined Ski Jump, Seefeld
Date Started: February 2, 1964
Date Finished: February 3, 1964
Format: Normal hill ski jumping and 15 kilometres skiing; placements determined by points table.
Defending champion Georg Thoma was regarded as the main favorite together with the silver medalist from 1960, Tormod Knutsen. Thoma was injured during the ski jumping competition at the 1962 World Championships and was out for the rest of the season, but came back strongly in 1963, winning at Holmenkollen and beating his arch rival Knutsen into second place. Knutsen was a very consistent competitor, but was still hunting for a major international win. At the 1962 World Championships he placed fourth, clearly behind the winner Arne Larsen. Larsen was normally an excellent jumper, winning the Norwegian Championships in ski jumping 1962, but when he trained harder to improve his cross country abilities, his jumping skills seemed to diminish during the 1963 and 1964 seasons.
The ski jumping part of the Nordic Combined took place on the Normal Hill in Seefeld with Thoma as the winner, but Knutsen, placing second, needed only 12 seconds to beat Thoma in the cross country event. The Soviet Union’s Nikolay Kiselyov came third in the jumping event, but was considered too weak in the cross country to fight for a medal. The bronze medalist of 1960 Nikolay Gusakov, seemed to be a better Soviet medal prospect after placing seventh in the ski jumping. Arne Larsen was disappointed with his 17th place in the jumping event, and the World Champion seemed to be out of contention for a medal.
In the 15 km cross country event Knutsen had a 31 seconds lead over Thoma by 5 km and at the finish he had beaten his rival with a clear margin, 1:33. Thoma had a bad day on the cross country track. He had trouble with his wax, and fell twice during the race. Kiselyov surprised with an excellent cross country race, beating Thoma by 42 seconds and taking the silver medal by a very small margin. Gusakov also made a good race and advanced from seventh to fourth place. Arne Larsen turned out to be the third fastest skier of the day and advanced from 17th to fifth place in the final standings. The Swiss Alois Kälin was clearly the fastest skier of the day, winning the cross country 1:28 ahead of his closest rival. Kälin could only place place 28 out of 32 competitors in the jumping event, but advanced to a final 12th position through his excellent cross country race.
Thoma got revenge over Knutsen by winning at Holmenkollen later in the season, where Knutsen was a distant sixth. Then the 32-year-old Norwegian ended his career, his old dream of an Olympic gold medal had come true.
|2||Nikolay Kiselyov||24||Soviet Union||URS||Silver||453.04|
|4||Nikolay Gusakov||29||Soviet Union||URS||449.36|
|7||Vyacheslav Dryagin||23||Soviet Union||URS||422.75|
|15||John Bower||23||United States||USA||403.76|
|27||Jim Shea||25||United States||USA||346.76|
|AC||Jim Page||22||United States||USA||DNF|