Host City: Lake Placid, United States
Venue(s): Intervale Ski Jump Complex, Lake Placid; Mt. Van Hoevenberg Recreation Area, Lake Placid
Date Started: February 18, 1980
Date Finished: February 19, 1980
Format: Normal hill ski jumping and 15 kilometres skiing; placements determined by points table.
The two-time defending Olympic champion, East Germany’s Ulrich Wehling, had dominated the international Nordic Combined scene during the 1970s. Besides his Olympic victories and World Championships gold he had won six national championships in the period 1973-1979 and was triumphant at Holmenkollen three years in a row – 1975, 1976 and 1977. His only international Championship defeat came at the 1978 World Championships in Lahti, were he finished third after his teammate Konrad Winkler and his arch-rival, the Finn Rauno Miettinen. However, Wehling, still only 27, was only one of four main favorites for the 1980 Olympic gold. Winkler, reigning World Champion, was to be considered, and Norway had hopes to regain their supremacy in the event through Tom Sandberg, Norwegian Champion six times in a row between 1975 and 1980. Finland had produced a great prospect in 23-year old Jouko Karjalainen, an excellent cross-country skier who was dangerous if he could do well in the ski jumping.
Wehling started the competition well. He won the jumping by a comfortable margin, with the best jump in both of the first two rounds, producing the longest jump of the day in the second round with 85.0 m. Second was an unknown American, Walter Malmquist, and third a West German teenager, Hubert Schwarz. Winkler, who placed fifth in ski jumping, had to beat Wehling by 1:25 in the cross country event, and Karjalainen (1:58 back) and Sandberg (2:39 back) were still in contention for the medals. Malmquist and Schwartz were considered too weak in the cross-country event to have any impact on the medal race.
In the 15 km cross-country phase, Wehling had the advantage of starting behind his rivals, Winkler and Karjalainen. The most dangerous attack came from the Finn. After 5 km he had a ½-minute lead over Wehling, and at 10 km the lead had increased to one minute, but Karjalainen had to gain another minute during the last 5 km, an almost impossible task. Wehling controlled the last part of the race and won his third consecutive Olympic Nordic Combined gold medal, a feat not performed before or since. Karjalainen, with the best cross-country time, advanced to the silver position, and Winkler, as in 1976, had to be content with the bronze medal. Sandberg edged out the East German Uwe Dotzauer in a close duel for fourth place. Miettinen, a shadow of his former self, ended in 23rd place, failing totally on the jumping hill.
|1||Ulrich Wehling||27||East Germany||GDR||Gold||432.200|
|3||Konrad Winkler||24||East Germany||GDR||Bronze||425.320|
|5||Uwe Dotzauer||20||East Germany||GDR||418.415|
|7||Aleksandr Mayorov||22||Soviet Union||URS||409.135|
|8||Gunter Schmieder||22||East Germany||GDR||404.075|
|9||Hubert Schwarz||19||West Germany||FRG||402.145|
|12||Walter Malmquist, II||23||United States||USA||395.300|
|14||Urban Hettich||26||West Germany||FRG||390.525|
|15||Fjodor Koltšin||22||Soviet Union||URS||387.355|
|16||Hermann Weinbuch||19||West Germany||FRG||385.240|
|18||Kerry Lynch||22||United States||USA||382.330|
|19||Sergey Omelchenko||26||Soviet Union||URS||379.935|
|20||Günther Abel||23||West Germany||FRG||376.520|
|28||Gary Crawford||22||United States||USA||340.180|
|29||Odd Arne Engh||28||Norway||NOR||328.145|
|AC||Mike Devecka||32||United States||USA||DNF|
|AC||Arne Morten Granlien||24||Norway||NOR||DNF|