Nordic Combined – What is it and what are its origins?

The Nordic Combined is a sport composed of two events: ski jumping and cross country skiing. Until the 1950s, the cross country race was held first, followed by the ski jumping. This was reversed as the difference in the cross-country race tended to be too big to overcome in ski jumping.

Although there are several types of Nordic combined events, the most common is the individual race, also known as the Individual Gundersen. Before 2008, this event included two jumps from the ski jumping normal hill and a 15 km cross country skiing chasing race. Afterwards, this event was altered to a single jump from the normal hill followed by a 10 km cross country race using also the Gundersen system. In the Gundersen method the racers with most ski jumping points will start first, followed by the next best jumper after as much time as there was difference in their jumping scores. This means that the first skier to cross the finish line is the winner of the event.

Points are scored in ski jumping both for distance and style. The distance points being 2 points per meter (1.2 for hills with a K-point of 100 m or farther) and the style points range between 3 and 30 per jump. In the cross country race a 15 point lead in the ski jump represents a one minute head start (which means a 4 second difference per point). An athlete could be a fantastic ski flyer and depart with a major time advance in the cross country race and end up down on classification if he is a poor skier or vice versa. That happens a lot and provides great thrill to this sport.

The first major competition in Nordic combined was held in 1892 in Oslo at the first Holmenkollen Ski Festival, an event still held annually.

The sport was included at the1924 Winter Olympics, and has been on the programme ever since. World Championships have been held since 1925. Current events included in the Olympics are the men’s individual NH/10 km and the men’s team 4x5km.

There is currently no women’s competition approved by the International Ski Federation.

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