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FOCUS ON-Nordic combined at the 2022 Beijing Olympics

Randy Mancini 9 Jan 25
Nordic skiing - Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics Test Event - FIS Nordic Combined Continental Cup
FILE PHOTO: Nordic Skiing - Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics Test Event - FIS Nordic Combined Continental Cup - National Cross-Country Skiing Centre, Zhangjiakou, Hebei, China - December 4, 2021. A volunteer stands in the venue of the National Cross-Country Skiing Centre. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang

January 26, 2022

By Mitch Phillips

LONDON (Reuters) – Focus on Nordic Combined at the Beijing Games.

THE ABSOLUTE BASICS

Nordic Combined is one sport made up of two elements – ski jumping and cross-country skiing.

Athletes earn points for distance and style in their ski jump and those points are then converted into time to earn the better jumpers a head start in the staggered cross country race.

There are three Nordic Combined disciplines – all for men:

Individual Normal Hill: One scored jump on the normal hill followed by a 10km cross-country.

Individual Large Hill: One scored jump on the large hill followed by a 10km cross-country.

Team Event: Four men from each country each take one jump from the large hill then compete in a 4x5km cross country relay, which is held on the same day.

HOW MANY MEDALS?

Three golds available – two individual and one team.

WHAT HAPPENED IN PYEONGCHANG?

A German landslide. Not only did the country take all three available golds, they also had a clean sweep of the podium in the large hill/10km event. Johannes Rydzek and Eric Frenzel won the two individual golds then helped Germany to team glory.

WHAT CAN WE EXPECT IN BEIJING?

Frenzel will be back to defend his titles but Fabian Riessle, a team gold and individual silver medallist four years ago was not selected. The Germans will again set the standard with Norway desperate to start challenging again having slipped from their previously untouchable place as the sport’s dominant nation.

WHAT’S NEW?

What should have been new was the presence of a women’s event for the first time, but the IOC rejected a request to include it in the Beijing programme, citing a lack of depth at the top level. Consequently it remains the only Olympic sport, summer or winter, where women cannot compete. That is expected to change in 2026.

WHEN IS IT HAPPENING?

Feb. 9 to 17

WHERE IS IT HAPPENING?

At the Zhangjiakou cluster, 100 miles (160 km) north-west of Beijing.

HOW DID WE GET HERE?

Nordic Combined has been a part of the Winter Olympic programme since the inaugural Games of 1924 and had been popular – in Nordic nations particularly – since the end of the 19th century.

WELL FANCY THAT

After decades of tweaking and experimenting to find the optimum way of scoring, Nordic Combined finally settled on the somewhat radical Gundersen Method, named after its developer, Norwegian Gunder Gundersen and first used at the Olympics at the 1988 Games.

Previously both elements were scored on points, with the combined tally producing the finishing order. Now, points gained from the ski jump convert into seconds for the cross-country course, enabling a staggered start pursuit race where the winner is the first to cross the line.

(Reporting by Mitch Phillips, editing by Toby Davis)