Host City: Innsbruck, Austria
Venue(s): Cross Country Skiing Stadium, Seefeld; Nordic Combined Ski Jump, Seefeld
Date Started: February 8, 1976
Date Finished: February 9, 1976
Format: Normal hill ski jumping and 15 kilometres skiing; placements determined by points table.
Since 1972, the defending Olympic Champion Ulrich Wehling had been dominant on the international Nordic Combined scene, winning the 1974 World Championships and the 1975 Holmenkollen. He was the hot favorite for another Olympic gold and was heading a strong East German team with the silver medalist from the 1974 World Championships Günther Deckert and two promising youngsters, Konrad Winkler and Claus Tuchscherer on the team.
In ski jumping, Wehling showed excellent form, having the longest and best jump in all three rounds. His Finnish rival, Olympic silver medalist from 1972 Rauno Miettinen was in second place, followed by two more East Germans, Tuchscherer and Winkler.
Wehling, normally considered a better cross-country skier than Miettinen, started three minutes behind the Finn and could easily control his rival in the 15 km cross-country event the day after. The surprise of the event was Urban Hettich, a West German from Schwarzwald, who had been very satisfied with his 11th place in the jumping event. He skied excellently, posting the fastest time of the day, over a minute better than the second best, Norwegian Stein Erik Gullikstad. Hettich advanced to the silver medal position, beating Winkler by a scant margin in the final classification. Miettinen could do no better than 19th place in the cross-country, dropping from second to fourth, barely beating Tuchscherer in fifth place. Gullikstad, placing 30th out of 33 in the jumping event, was far behind in the total points, but the third fastest in the cross-country race, while the Soviet Union’s Nikolay Nogovitsyn advanced from 16th to sixth place. Wehling, still only 23, became the second skier to defend his Olympic gold in Nordic Combined after Johan Grøttumsbråten did it in Lake Placid 44 years earlier.
|1||Ulrich Wehling||23||East Germany||GDR||Gold||423.39|
|2||Urban Hettich||22||West Germany||FRG||Silver||418.90|
|3||Konrad Winkler||20||East Germany||GDR||Bronze||417.47|
|5||Claus Tuchscherer||21||East Germany||GDR||409.51|
|6||Nikolay Nogovitsyn||28||Soviet Union||URS||406.44|
|7||Valery Kopayev||21||Soviet Union||URS||406.14|
|13||Günter Deckert||25||East Germany||GDR||397.78|
|14||Günther Abel||19||West Germany||FRG||394.57|
|17||Jim Galanes||19||United States||USA||381.13|
|22||Stein Erik Gullikstad||23||Norway||NOR||372.72|
|23||Aleksey Baranov||21||Soviet Union||URS||370.17|
|28||Mike Devecka||28||United States||USA||343.88|
|29||Walter Malmquist, II||19||United States||USA||341.47|
|32||Modesto De Silvestro||25||Italy||ITA||319.89|