Nordic Combined

There are a few Olympic events that are a combination of two or more competitions. In the summer, athletes compete in the decathlon, pentathlon and triathlon. In the winter, Olympic athletes compete in the biathlon and Nordic combined. The biathlon is an event where competitors cross-country ski and then shoot at targets. The Nordic combined event is the most peculiar of all the combination events. Nordic combined is the pairing of cross-country skiing and ski jumping. What an odd combination? To understand this odd pair, we have to look at its Norwegian origin.


History of Nordic Combined

Believe it or not, the first known official ski competition was the Nordic combined in Norway in the late 1870s. It was only two decades later when Norway began to hold an annual Nordic combined competition. The annual tournament lasted for 106 years. When the Olympics began in 1924, Nordic combined was easily accepted as an event. Ever since it became an Olympic event, the Scandinavians have been dominating the Nordic combined podium. The Norwegians themselves won gold every year from 1924 to 1952. (This information is from the Winter Olympic Park website)

Nordic combined, along with ski jumping, has and still is an event for only men. I'm disappointed that such discrimination still occurs and that it will occur in Vancouver. The IOC claims that it is not discrimination, just a matter of merit. You can learn more about the issue from this CBC article. If you oppose the exclusion of women from ski jumping and Nordic combined, please express yourself at "Let Women Jump in 2010."

The sport of Nordic combined was originally only one individual event. The individual event is sometimes refered to as the individual Gundersen. At the 1988 Calgary Olympics, the IOC introduced a team Nordic combined event. Only 12 years later at the 2002 Olympics, the IOC included a sprint Nordic combined event. There are now three Olympic events for the sport of Nordic combined.

Nordic Combined at Vancouver 2010

Since the beginning of the Winter Olympics, Canada has not won any medals in Nordic combined. Norway, on the other hand, has won 28 of the 84 medals awarded. (Wikipedia: Nordic Combined at the Winter Olympics) However, the competition is heating up in Nordic combined. In recent years, Austria, a very strong Winter Olympic competitor, has been a force to reckon with in Nordic combined. However, the 2009 World Championships was won by American Bill Demong. This year's Nordic combined event will be a spectacular competition. (NBC: Nordic Combined)

big_venue-diagram---wop(cross-country)_98original-wq.gifIn Vancouver 2010 the Nordic combined events will be slightly changed. The team event remains the same, but the other two are undergoing changes. The individual and sprint will turn into the individual NH and the individual LH. Both events will now comprise of a 10 km cross-country ski. The difference is that the individual NH includes a jump from the normal hill, and the individual LH is from a long hill.

If you are interested in following the Nordic combined events in Vancouver, mark the following dates in your calendar. Individual NH will be on February 14th. The team competition will be on February 23rd. The individual LH will be on the 25th of February. (Official Vancouver 2010 website)

The Nordic combined events will take place at the Whistler Olympic Park. The venue can hold approximately 12000 spectators. (Official Vancouver 2010 website)

How-To: Things you need to know to compete in Nordic combined

Ski jumping style
Nowadays, ski jumpers always use the v-style. The style is named for the v-shape that skis form when the skier is in flight. It's hard to believe but the aerodynamic v-style wasn't used until 1985.
Before the v-style, skiers used to use the Kongsberger technique (skis together) and the Daescher technique (bent at hips and arms out). The video to the left demonstrates the Kongsberger technique. (Wikipedia: Nordic Combined)

Cross-country skiing style
An explanation of the sports techniques
  • How do you perform this sport?
  • What equipment is required?
Getting into Nordic combined locally
Ski jumping is not possible in Abitibi, but cross-country skiing is. There are a lot of different places around Rouyn-Noranda where you can ski. Check out this interactive map to discover a few of the cross-country trails.

To the right, you will see a video of the U.S. Nordic combined team training, competing, and discussing the sport.

Nordic Combined Athletes**
  • Athletes
    • Who are the top athletes in the sports?
    • Who are the Canadians competing this year in the event?
      • Profile one of the Canadians competing. Better yet, try to profile a Quebecois perform your sport at this year`s Olympics