KUUSAMA, FINLAND – Akito Watabe finished third in Nordic combined’s World Cup season opener on Friday.
Watabe, who won two medals at March’s world championships, was third after a 125.0-meter ski jump. He started the 5-km cross-country race with a 33 second deficit, and crossed the line in 12 minutes, 36.0 seconds to secure the bronze medal and his 48th career podium finish.
Norway’s Espen Andersen, who started the race in second place, won his first World Cup event. His compatriot Jan Schmid was runner-up, 7.7 seconds back. Watabe finished another 3.3 seconds back.
“The result was just what I was aiming for,” Watabe said. “I was more intent on adjustments than results. Still, it’s much better to start the season on the podium.”