Nordic Combined individual events have been part of the Olympic program since the first Olympic Winter Games in Chamonix in 1924. The team competition was introduced at the Calgary Olympic Winter Games in 1988 with each team made up of three skiers. By the 1998 Nagano Olympics, this was increased to four skiers on each team.
Nordic Combined in Russia
On February 19, 1912, Russia’s first Nordic Combined competition was held at the North Ski Jump near St. Petersburg, it consisted of a ski jumping event and a cross-country event of about 2.5 miles.
The development of Nordic Combined in Russia was driven by the expansion of the world championship and Olympic programs. Team events involving three athletes were introduced in 1982 and the competition included a ski jumping event and a 3×10 km skiing relay.
Nordic Combined Today
Nordic Combined events include a ski jumping competition (1 jump) and a 10 km cross-country ski race. There are three men’s events in the Olympic program in Nordic Combined: the individual event with a normal hill (NH) ski jump, the individual event with a large hill (LH) ski jump, and the team event, with two jumps from the large hill for each team member and a 4×5 km relay.
The individual event, also known as the Gundersen race, takes place in two stages. The first stage is a jump from the normal or large hill, with each participant making one attempt. The second stage is a 10 km race. Points are scored for distance and style in the ski jumping section. The skiers with the most ski jumping points start first in the cross-country section, followed by the next best jumper after a gap that reflects the difference in their jumping scores, and so on. The first cross-country skier to cross the finish line wins the event.
The team event is similar to the individual event, except that teams of 4 people compete. In the first part of the event, each skier has one jump on a large hill. Points for all jumps count towards the team total. A difference of forty-five points translates to a one minute advantage in the second event, the 4×5 km cross-country relay. The Nordic Combined winner is the team whose skier crosses the finish line first.
Ski jumping gear
- Specialized high-backed boots allow the skier to lean far forward during flight.
- The binding must be mounted parallel to the run-direction. The binding must be placed in such a way that no more than 57% of the entire ski length is located in the front portion of the ski (the binding toe piece divides the ski into front and back portions).
- A connection cord that is a part of the binding attaches the ski to the boot and prevents the skis from wobbling during flight.
- All sections of the ski jumping suit must be made of the same material and must offer a certain, controlled degree of breathability. Jumping skis may be no longer than 146% of the total height of the competitor.
Cross-country skiing gear
- The rear of the boot is built up to shore up the ankle, which is constantly under pressure in the free technique.
- Cross-country skis are narrower and lighter than those used in Alpine skiing. They have long, curved ends and rise up slightly in the middle, and can be up to 2 m long.
- Bindings secure the skier’s feet to the skis.
- Ski poles are long and straight, often reaching as high as the athlete’s chin.
- Skiers’ suits are made from special form-fitting elastic fabric.
- Glide wax is chosen depending on the type of snow and weather conditions.