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Skiing: Nordic combined

Felix Gottwald

The Nordic combined puts together two very different skills to produce one seriously demanding event.

A men-only discipline, it asks competitors to tackle the ski jump first, and ends with a race for the gold medal on the cross country ski course on day two.

Scandinavians have dominated ever since the Nordic combined made its Olympic debut at the Chamonix Games in 1924.

The Norwegians are the traditional giants, winning more than half of the gold medals on offer since then, but Austria are now also a force.


There are three types of Nordic combined events: the Individual Gundersen, sprint and team competitions.

The Individual Gundersen takes place on the smaller of the two hills.

Each competitor has two jumps, which are judged on length and style using the same rules as the main ski jump competition.

The leader from the ski jump goes first in the freestyle 15km cross country leg, and the winner is the first man to cross the finishing line.

The name of the event comes from the Gundersen method, which converts ski jumping points into staggered start times for the cross country part of the event.

In the sprint event, competitors have just one jump on the large hill.

The Gundersen method is used to determine start times for a 7.5km cross-country race the following day.

The team event consists of four members taking two jumps each off the normal hill, and the cross-country leg is a 4x5km relay, with the Gundersen method used to work out which team starts first.


Ski jumping

Unfortunately, there are no ski jumping facilities in the UK, but the sport is very popular in Europe.

The International Ski Federation is the governing body that looks after ski jumping across the world.


Cross country skiing

Cross country skiing has been traditionally associated with the military.

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