2018 Winter Olympics: Nordic Combined

Updated February 9, 2018 | Infoplease Staff
2018 Winter Olympics Pyeongchang

Long dominated by Scandinavian countries

2018 Nordic Combined World Cup
Source: AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson

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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. The Nordic combined also remains one of the few men's-only events at the Olympics.

A new scoring system, introduced at the 1988 Winter Games in Calgary, made the event more fan-friendly. The Gundersen 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 events

The Nordic combined events at Pyeongchang are:

  • Individual Gundersen normal hill: Competitors complete two ski jumps from the normal hill (90 m/295 ft). They then participate in a 15-km cross-country race.
  • Individual Gundersen large hill: Competitors complete one ski jump from the large hill (120 m/394 ft) and then a 7.5-km cross-country race.
  • Team Gundersen large hill: Each nation will enter a team of four athletes. All four skiers will make two jumps off the large hill. Each team will get a ranking based on the aggregate score of their eight jumps. The same athletes who jumped then compete in a 4 x 5-km relay.

While it is common to divide the jumps and races between multiple days of competition, that will not be the format at Pyeongchang.

The Pyeongchang Games

The Nordic combined events will be held at the Alpensia Ski Jumping Centre and the Alpensia Cross-Country Skiing Centre in Pyeongchang. The events will begin with the individual Gundersen normal hill on Feb. 14, and will conclude with the team Gundersen large hill on Feb. 22.

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