Saturday June 10, 2023

Frenzel says emotional goodbye to Nordic combined

Published : 26 Mar 2023, 21:31

  DF News Desk
Eric Frenzel of Germany in tears during men's Nordic Combined HS130 ski jumping competition at the FIS Nordic World Cup Lahti Ski Games in Lahti, Finland, on March 26, 2023. Photo: Antti Hämäläinen/Lehtikuva/dpa.

Eric Frenzel shed his first farewell tears after the ski jumping in his final Nordic combined event before retirement and was then given a guard of honour after the cross-country skiing, reported dpa.

Finishing 40th, over 5 and a half minutes behind winner Jarl Magnus Riiber, might not have been the way he pictured his final World Cup race in Finland's Lahti.

But the 34-year-old, Germany's most successful Nordic combined skier in history with five overall World Cup titles and three Olympic golds, still wanted to celebrate.

"It's hugely emotional. I'm overjoyed to be able to experience this and to have such an honour and be welcomed by all the athletes with a guard of honour. It's great, phenomenal," said the visibly moved Frenzel.

German team-mate Vincenz Geiger told reporters: "He is the greatest of all time. He will remain so, no matter how many more victories the others manage."

Norway's Riiber, who is only just behind Frenzel (83) in the list of most wins after his 79th World Cup victory, also paid tribute.

"For me he was always my hero. When I was little, I looked up to him," Riiber said.

German national team coach Hermann Weinbuch is also stepping away from the sport at 63, with Frenzel tipped to take over.

"I will rest first. The last race was tough and my knees are pretty soft," Frenzel joked.