What is Nordic Combined?
For those of you who are unaware of what Nordic Combined is, here is a brief description of the sport.
Nordic Combined originated as a sport around 1892. The sport consists of three main events, a small hill individual event, a large hill individual event, and the team event. Nordic Combined is one of the oldest Olympic events. Europeans have primarily dominated the sport until recently. Now days many nations including the United States have won several medals at both the Olympics and World Championships. The United States has fought a long hard battle to get ranked with the other top nations in the sport.
The individual event, or a Gunderson event, consists of one jump on either the small hill or the large hill, followed by a 10-kilometer cross-country race. On the small hill, athletes will typically jump between 70 to 110 meters, whereas on the large hill, they will jump between 90 and 145 meters. Each jump has a specific size that classifies how big the jump is. Regardless of what size hill the competition is held, on the jumpers will be judged by five style judges. The high and the low score will be thrown out, leaving a score for style. The distance the athlete jumps will also be converted to points. The total number of points the jumper receives is then converted into a time. This time helps to determine the starting order of the cross-country portion of the event. The winner of the jumping will be the competitor with the best-combined distance and style score.
For the cross-country portion of the event, the winner on the jumps will start first. Depending on how the rest of the field jumps they will receive time penalties in which they need to make up. For example, lets say the winner of the jumping has 15 more points then the second place competitor. The second place competitor will start one minute behind him. This turns the race into a strategic pursuit. Each athlete will be starting the race hoping to make up the time lost in the jumping event. The first person across the finish line wins the event.
The team event consists of four athletes. Each athlete will take one jump, and the total of all four jumps will be added up and converted to a time. Each competitor will then complete a portion of a 4 x 5-kilometer pursuit relay race, tagging off to their teammate after each five-kilometer leg. The same principal applies for the team event as an individual event; the first team to complete the race wins the event.
The physical capabilities of the Nordic Combined athlete must be top notch in order to obtain a podium. Training for this sport demands a tremendous amount of dedication and hard work. Both aspects of the sport require completely different physical attributes, which is why this sport is so physically demanding both in competition and training.
All events are a battle of grit and will and are also sure to be a crowd pleaser!