Jørgen Graabak came out on top in the large hill/10km Nordic combined at Beijing 2022 ©Getty Images

Norway’s Jarl Magnus Riiber blew a 44-second lead by going the wrong way as compatriot Jørgen Graabak captured the men’s large hill/10 kilometres Nordic combined gold at the Winter Olympics here.

Riiber’s participation at Beijing 2022 had been thrown into doubt when he tested positive for coronavirus and forced to go into isolation.

After recovering from COVID-19, Riiber was released from quarantine yesterday, allowing him to compete in today’s race.

Despite the disruption, the double world champion and three-time World Cup winner registered a whopping 139.8 points in the ski jumping - 11 points more than closest challenger Kristjan Ilves of Estonia.

Riiber was comfortably in the lead only to go the wrong way in the cross-country.

After realising his mistake, Riiber turned around and completed the course but compatriots Graabak and Jens Luras Oftebro finished ahead of him.

Riiber slumped to eighth position in 27min 53.1sec while Graabak triumphed in 27:13.3.

Graabak topped a Norwegian one-two with Oftebro coming second in 27:53.1 and Japan’s Akito Watabe clinching bronze in 26:19.9 as Riiber was left to rue his error.

"It's a silly mistake and it's not fun to show the world that I'm maybe wasting a gold medal on that," said Riiber.

"It's silly to do that mistake but on a normal day with that mistake as well I would be in the fight, I'm a good sprinter and I would fight for the gold anyway."

Jarl Magnus Riiber took the lead with an impressive ski jumping round only to go the wrong way in the cross-country ©Getty Images
Jarl Magnus Riiber took the lead with an impressive ski jumping round only to go the wrong way in the cross-country ©Getty Images

Graabak said Riiber’s blunder give him a boost as he made up a gap of more than two minutes to capture the title.

"I saw we were under a minute behind so I knew something was up," said Graabak.

"Then I heard after a few hundred metres that Jarl went round, so that was a positive message because then I knew he didn't hurt himself or was totally out of whack.

"Of course, I wouldn't wish that on anyone; to go wrong at the Olympics."

It is Graabak’s third Olympic gold of his career having triumphed in the team and large hill/10km individual events at Sochi 2014.

"It's what dreams are made of," said Graabak.

"It's unreal to be honest, I can't quite believe it.

"I have to see the replay first. 

"It's hard to believe, but of course I'm really happy.

"It demanded everything I've got, so I'm really, really tired at the moment.

"It was a really tough race, starting over two minutes behind. I didn't think it was possible.

"It's unreal, I don't know what to say."