Pyeongchang 2018

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Sport guide – Nordic Combined: skiing and ski jumping for the dashing and daring

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 20: (L-R) Bernhard Gruber of Austria, Johannes Rydzek of Germany and Magnus Krog of Norway compete in the Nordic Combined Men's Team 4 x 5 km during day 13 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at RusSki Gorki Jumping Center on February 20, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

Having featured at every edition of the Olympic Winter Games since the first in Chamonix, France, 1924, Nordic Combined is an Olympic staple.

Twinning cross country skiing and ski jumping, it trades in stamina and bravery, with only the most driven athletes succeeding at the sport’s elite level.

At the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, Nordic combined’s three events begin on 14 February at the Alpensia Ski Jumping Centre and the Alpensia Cross-Country Skiing Centre.

Historically, Norway has done well in this discipline: at the 1924 Winter Olympic Games they scooped all three medals – Thorleif Haug (gold), Thoralf Stromstad (silver) and Johan Grottumsbraaten (bronze).

Norway has won a total of 30 Nordic combined medals (13 golds), with Finland currently their closest rival on 14 (4 golds). Momentum is with Norway, too: at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games they took two golds.

Split into three events, two of which are individual (ski jumping normal hill/10 km cross-country skiing; ski jumping large hill/10 km cross-country skiing), and one team competition, Nordic is brimming with drama.

In the individual events, competitors are first required to perform in a ski jumping leg. On the large hill, the K-point (which stands for K/critical or construction height) stands at 125 metres; the smaller hill at 98 metres. Each jump is scored in points according to distance and style.

Starting positions for the cross-country race are dependent on results of the ski jumping event, with the winner going first. The overall winner is the racer who completes the 10km course in first place.

The Nordic combined team event promises similar spikes in excitement. As with the individual medals, international teams of four athletes first perform in the ski jumping competition, with their combined scores settling their starting positions for the cross-country leg.

The race is a relay event, with each athlete covering a 5km course before handing over to a team-mate. The first team to have all four racers cross the finishing line are the winners. Amid the tension of an Olympic medal dash, spectators are advised to expect plenty of thrills.


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