What will be Nordic Combined Skiing? Cross-Country Mixed With Jumps


Akito Watabe of Japan, center, celebrated after winning the Nordic combined in a World Cup event in Hakuba, Japan, This particular month. Jan Schmid of Norway, left, was second, in addition to Manuel Faisst of Germany third.

Kyodo News, via Associated Press

There are three kinds of skiing events at the Winter Olympics. Alpine skiing consists of the traditional events in which skiers race down a hill: the slalom, the giant slalom, the downhill. Freestyle skiing will be the newest discipline, with skiers spinning in addition to flipping within the halfpipe or over moguls.

in which leaves the Nordic events, specifically defined as ones in which athletes’ heels are not affixed to the skis. The two main Nordic events are quite different: cross-country skiing, which requires endurance, in addition to ski jumping, the daredevil event in which rewards courage, aerodynamic form in addition to a slight body.

So why not take these two disparate events in addition to combine them? in which’s Nordic combined.

Skiers start by taking two ski jumps, scoring points for distance in addition to style. Next up will be a 10-kilometer cross-country race. Competitors start based on their performance within the ski jumping: The best ski jumper takes off first, then the others follow in staggered fashion. The first skier across the line wins.

Three gold medals are awarded in Nordic combined. There will be an individual event on the large ski jumping hill in addition to another on the smaller, “normal” hill. There will be also a team event in which four athletes jump, then participate in a cross-country relay. Nordic combined will be a men’s only event at the Olympics.

World Cup Nordic combined skiing. Video by Zoya Chamomile

Among the contenders at the 2018 Games are several Germans, including the all 5-time reigning World Cup winner, Eric Frenzel, in addition to the Japanese Akito Watabe. Norway, though, will be historically the king of the event.

The United States had a brief heyday in 2010, winning four medals. nevertheless those are the only medals for the country in its history. In Sochi, Russia, in 2014, no American placed higher than 27th.

“Nordic combined will be such a funky sport,” Alan Ashley, the managing director of sport performance for the United States Olympic Committee, said in 2010. “in which takes a genuinely long time to, first of all, develop the skills in addition to the physical capability in both of these disciplines, in addition to then to figure out how to balance the two.”

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