Johannes Rydzek of Germany is a two-time Olympian in Nordic combined, where he’s won team silver and bronze medals. He’s also the reigning world champion on the normal and large hill.
Nordic combined beginnings
Rydzek was born December 9, 1991 in Oberstdorf, Germany and was skiing alongside his parents before he was 5 years old. His father also volunteered every year at the Oberstdorf-hosted stop on the annual Four Hills tournament (a four-competition blitz of World Cup stops), which was another reason Rydzek wanted to learn to ski jump.
Major competitions/ medals
Rydzek was the youngest member of Germany’s Nordic combined team when he made his Olympic debut in Vancouver, having turned 18 just two months prior to the Games. He won a team bronze medal and finished 28th on the normal hill.
At the 2014 Olympics, he upgraded to a team silver medal. Individually, he finished sixth on the normal hill and eighth on the large hill.
He’s seen major success at world championships, too. In 2011, he won three silver medals. At the 2015 competition, he won a medal on each of the four events. And in 2017, he went better still, sweeping the gold medals entirely, something no Nordic combined athlete had ever done before.
Rydzek has finished inside the top-three of the overall World Cup standings three times: 2014, 2015, and 2017.
He also owns five medals from the junior world championships, including normal hill gold from 2011.
Rydzek was training in Olympic host city Lillehammer, Norway, on the development team while his more senior teammates were competing at a November 2008 World Cup stop some 600 miles away in Finland. At the last minute, a German athlete got sick and a call was made to the development team for a replacement. Rydzek was chosen, put on the next flight, and competed the following day. He placed 15th in a field of 58 athletes in his World Cup debut.
From then on, he was permanently elevated to the national team.
Rydzek competed at the 2010 and 2014 Olympics, winning a team medal each time.
Outside of training
Rydzek is studying industrial engineering, but loves outdoor activities such as mountaineering, climbing, mountain biking, and ski touring. When he wants to stay inside, he likes watching movies.