Winter Olympics: Nordic Combined
Long dominated by Scandinavian countries
The Nordic combined involves two staples of the Winter Games: ski jumping and cross-country skiing. Invented by Norwegians and long dominated by Scandinavian countries, the Nordic combined has been contested at every Olympic Winter Games since 1924.
A new scoring system, introduced at the 1988 Winter Games in Calgary, made the event more fan-friendly. The Gunderson Method, named for its inventor, is a system that judges use to award the first starting position in the cross-country race. The rest of the athletes' ski jumping scores are then converted into staggered start times.
In the past it took judges hours after the event to finish comparing ski jump points and cross-country times and thus determine the winner. This revolutionary formula sped up the process. The new procedure meant that, for the first time, the first athlete to break the tape at the end of the cross-country race was the overall winner.
The Nordic combined at Sochi will feature three medal events:
The Nordic Combined will be held on Feb. 12, 18, and 20. The venue for the Nordic combined events during the 2014 Games is the RusSki Gorki Jumping Center, in the Esto-Sadok village.
In 2006, Austria, Germany, and Norway dominated the medals in the individual and team events. In 2010, the United States performed well in the Nordic combined events, taking four medals. Bill Demong won gold, Johnny Spillane won two silver and Team USA took silver in the team event.
by John Gettings, Christine Frantz and Jennie Wood
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