NORDIC SKIING

SKI JUMPING

History; Norway dominated the one Olympic ski-jumping event, the 90-meter, for the first six Olympics, winning the gold every time and the silver five times. Since 1956, Eastern Europeans and the Japanese have dominated. In 1964 at Innsbruck the 70-meter jump was added to the competition.

Rules: There ar two jumping events, one down a 70-meter hill, the other down a 90-meter hill. There are two jumps in each event and the scoring is based both on distance and form. Judges look for a proper takeoff, a smooth, motionless flight through the air and a clean, safe landing with one leg slightly in front of the other. If a skier's form is correct while in midair, he will appear to be parallel to his skis. CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING

History: Cross-country skiing has been a way of life for centuries in the Nordic countries and a major part of the winter Olympics since 1924. Like the jumping events, the cross-country events were dominated in the early days by Norwegians. Since 1956, the first year women skied the Nordic events, the Russians and Germans havce caught up to Norway.

Rules: All the cross-country individual races are against the clock with competitors leaving 30 seconds apart. The courses are usually quite hilly with long up and downhill portions and few completely flat areas. The relays are run in a pack, everyone leaving at the same time. The combined is just that: The cross-country placing and the jump placing are combined for a total score. ALPINE SKIING

History: Although Europeans have skied through the snow -- as a necessity -- for several hundred years, it was not until 1948 that Alpine skiing became a full-fledged Olympic sport, with three men's events and three women's events: downhill, giant slalom and slalom. Europeans have dominated the ski events except in 1956 when Australian Toni Sailer took three gold medals in the men's events. Women have had virtually all the success American skiers have had in Alpine events, winning seven gold medals over the years. No American male has ever won a gold medal; the only two medals won by American men were in the same event, the 1964 slalom where Billy Kidd and Jimmy Huega won silver and bronze medals. Barbara Cochran was the last gold medalist for the United States, in the 1972 slalom.

Rules: The downhill is based on sheer speed, the giant slalom on a combination of speed and technical skill and the slalom primarily on technical skill. The downhill is a race against the clock with several turns along the way. There is just one run in this event. The giant slalom has a number of gates on the way downhill which are spaced at fairly wide distances -- a minimum of 13 feet apart. The slalom is twisting, turning race through closely spaced gates on a shorter, much tighter course than the giant slalom. As in the giant slalom, touching a gate is legal but if a skier misses a gate he is disqualified. There are two runs in both slaloms. ICE HOCKEY

History: Like figure skating, this was an Olympic sport before the first formal winter games were held in 1924. In 1920 there was an Olympic ice-hockey tournament. It was won by Canada, which then won the first three formal Olympic games before Great Britain broke the streak in 1936.The Canadians won again in 1948 and 1952 before the Soviets stepped up their hockey program. Since 1956 the Soviets have won every gold medal except at Squaw Valley in 1960, when the United States upset them 3-2 in the semi-finals and went on to beat Czechoslovakia for the gold medal . Canada boycotted the 1972 and 1976 games after insisting it should be allowed to use any citizen it wished (such as National Hockey League players) since the Russians were allowed to do so, having no professional leagues. But the Canadians, without NHLers, will be at Lake Placid. BOBSLEDDING

History: Bobsledding has been an Olympic sport since 1924. Though the only bobsled run in the Western Hemisphere is the one at Lake Placid, the United States was the dominant country in bobsledding through 1948. Since 1956, Europeans have dominated. East Germans won both gold medals in 1976.

Rules: Sleds travel as fast as 90 mph and weigh about 500 pounds. The course is about one mile long. The key man is the driver but in the four-man event the back man, the pusher, is also important in getting a fast start. There are four heats in each event and results are based on total time. SPEED SKATING

History: Speed skating for men has been a part of the Olympics since 1924; for women only since 1960. This has been the best sport for U.S. competitors. In 1932, the United States won all four events. Five of the eight U.S. gold medals since 1964 have been in speed skating.

Rules: There are five men's events: 500 meters, 1,000 meters, 1,500 meters, 5,000 meters, and 10,000 meters. And four women's events: 500 meters, 1,000 meters, 1,500 meters, 3,000 meters. The skaters are divided into pairs and race against the clock around a 400-meter oval. An early starting position is considered important because the ice is smoother and faster. LUGE

History: Like bobsledding, the luge event is an outgrowth of the sport of tobogganing. But it did not become an Lympic sport until 1964. Germans -- East and West -- and Austrians have completely dominated the three events: Men's and women's singles and men's doubles.

Rules: The luge sled is usually about four-feet long and weighs about 50 pounds. The luger lies on his back, feet forward. Except for a steering strap there is nothing to hold him on the sled. There is no mechanical steering or breaking as the sled flies down the 1,000- to 1,200-meter course at about 70 mph. The singles events are divided into two heats. Total time decides the outcome. BIATHLON

History: The biathlon came about as a combination of hunting and skiing, which many Nordic skiers had to do to survive. There are two events: the individual biathlon and the biathlon relay. The object is to ski cross-country the fastest while stopping at various points on the course to shoot at different targets. The winner is the man or team with the fastest time. Nordic countries have dominated the biathlon since its introduction to the games in 1960, though the Russians have won the relay every time.

Rules: The individual biathlon race at the Olympics is a 12 1/2-mile cross-country ski with four stops along the way. At each stop five rounds are fired. If a shooter hits only the outside of the target area he is assessed a one-minute penalty. If he misses completely, the penalty is two minutes. In the relay, each man skis 7.5 kilometers, stopping twice to fire eight rounds at five targets. For each unbroken target the biathlete must ski a 200-meter loop, usually losing about a minute for each loop. In both events the targets are about 150 meters from the shooters. FIGURE SKATING History: Figure skating has been in the Olympics since 1908, when it was included in the summer games. It has been a part of the winter games since their inception in 1924 and has had many glamorous champions. There are four figure-skating events: Men's and women's singles, the pairs competition and ice dancing, which became part of the Olympics in 1976. The Soviet Union has dominated the pairs competition while the medals have been divided fairly evenly in singles with the United States winning a solid share.

Rules: The singles competition is divided into three categories: compulsory school figures (which count 30 percent), the two-minute compulsory freestyle program (20 percent) and the freestyle program (50 percent). All are set to music. The school figures are tracings on a figure eight; the judges watch the skaters' carriage, flow, motion and control, and beauty of movement, then check the tracings for accuracy. The short program and freestyle are judged both on technical merit and artistic expression.

The pairs competition is divided into a two-minute short program, designed around six basic moves, which counts 20 percent of the score, and the freestyle event. The pair must skate in unison, and technical merit and artistic expression are crucial. The freestyle program should be done to both slow and fast music and should include lifts, jumps, spins and connecting steps.

Ice dancing does not include lifts, jumps or spins. Neither is skating singly allowed. Ice-dancing programs rely on musical interpretation and intricate footwork. The dancers' ability to appear as one is of paramount importance. CAPTION: Picture 1, Oddvar Braa, Norway: The top cross-country skier in the world, Braa won the 15. and 30-kilometer races in a 1979 "pre-Olympics" at Lake Placid. He's also the man to catch a 50 kilometers. Russell/Kelly; Picture 2, Jim Craig, U.S.: An All-American at Boston U. and a standout in pre-Olympic training, goalie Craig carries the heaviest responsbility in the U.S. Bid to win a hockey medal. Dave G. Houser/uniphoto; Picture 3, The No. 2 Swiss four-man bobsled taking the silver medal at Innsbruck. A U.S. sled has not cracked the top 10 since 1968. Canadian Olympic Association/Briston Productions; Pictures 4 and 5, Leah Poulos Mueller, U.S.: Won silver at 1,000 meters in 1976. No matter the angle, it doesn't look easy: A luger must hold the rein with one hand, hang on to the sled with the other. Canadian Olympic Association/Briston Productions; Picture 6, Piero Gros, Italy: The 1976 slalom gold medalist (by 44 hundredths of a second over teammate Gustavo Thoeni) will be facing an even tougher field at Placid -- including Stenmark. Russell/Kelly; Picture 7, Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner, U.S.: Spotted as children skating on opposite sides of a Santa Monica, Calif. rink, Babilonia and Garnder have practiced together 11 years in their effort to become the first Americans to win the Olympic pairs competition, taken the last four times by the Soviets. ABC Photograph; Picture 8, Heini Hemmi, Switzerland: Winner of the giant slalom in 1976, Hemmi will have trouble repeating, with Sweden's Ingemar Stenmark the favorite for the gold. Russell/Kelly; Picture 9, Charlie Tickner, U.S.: An often spectacular figure skater, Tickner could be the first U.S. man to win the singles since David Jenkins in 1960. ABC Photograph; Picture 10, Hanni Wenzel, Liechtenstein: Wenzel, 25, comes from a skiing family that includes her brother, Andreas. She won the bronze in slalom in 1976 and two World Cup giant slalom races this season. Russell/Kelly; Picture 11, Cindy Nelson, U.S.: Most Americans skiers agree that Nelson on a given day, can be just about as good as any woman downhiller in the world. The Lutsen, Minn. native won a bronze at Innsbruck. This will be her third Olympic appearance.Russell/Kelly for the U.S. Ski Team; Picture 12, Peter Wirnsberger, Austrai: He rates as a slight favorite in a wide-open downhill. He won over the Placid course last year. Russell/Kelly for the U.S. Ski Team; Picture 13, Andy Mill, U.S.: The oldest member of the U.S. Ski team at 27, downhill racer. Mill is closing out an often distinguished, sometimes unpredictable career. He was sixth on a wobbly knee at Innsbruck. Hans Teensma; Picture 14, Bojan Krizaj, Yugoslavia: Along with Bulgaria's Peter Popangelov, Krizaij is considered the top East European threat in the giant slalom or slalom events. Russell/Kelly for the U.S. Ski Team; Picture 15, Bill Koch, U.S.: If there was a genuine out-of-nowhere American hero at the 1976 winter games it was Koch, a Vermont farmer who skied his way to a silver medal in the 30-kilometer cross-country. LPOOC Picture 16, Irina Rodnina and Aleksandr Zaietsev, U.S.S.R: The greatest pairs skaters of their time, Rodnina and Zaitsev, husband and wife, won gold in 1976. The 4-foot-11 Rodnina also won with another partner in 1972.Ken Regan/Camera 5; Picture 17, Biathlon shooting: The individual and relay biathlon events demand speed and endurance in cross-country skiing and accuracy in target shooting from various points along the way. Copyright (c) Dave G. Houser; Picture 18, Lisa-Marie Allen, U.S.: Arch-rival of Linda Fratianne, 5-foot-9 Allen is a flamboyant performer, especially in her free-skating routines. It's her verve and competitiveness versus Fratianne's technique. Copyright (c) Dave G. Houser/Uniphoto; Picture 19, Anett Poetzsch, East Germany: The world champion women's figure skater of 1978, fourth at Innsbruck when Linda Fratianne was eighth, should win a medal at Placid, and won't easily be denied the gold. Ken Regan/Camera 5; Picture 20, Peter Luescher, Switzerland: Luescher won the first overall World Cup title by a Swiss man a year ago, although Stenmark won in the giant slalom and slalom. Luescher is a Placid threat, especially in GS. Russell/Kelly; Picture 21, Stacey Smith and John Summers: Born in Bethesda and graduated from O'Connel high school in Arlington, Summers now dances with Smith in Wilmington, Del. They are U.S. champions. LPOOC; Picture 22, Marie-Theres Nadig, Switzerland: Nadig is in top form, having won six recent World Cup downhills. Russell/Kelly for the U.S. Ski Team; Picture 23, Peter Mueller, Switzerland: Usually close if not first, downhiller Mueller has won three times on this season's World Cup circuit. Russell/Kelly; Picture 24, Boris Mikhailov, U.S.S.R: Captain of the Soviet hockey team with the Challenge Cup that went to the U.S.S.R. after a 6-0 trouncing of the N.H.L. all-stars last year. Terry Hancey; Picture 25, Peter Mueller, U.S.: He won a gold medal at Innsbruck in the 1,000 meters, then married teammate Leah Poulos. At Placid, as he has in training, Mueller, 25, will push Eric Heiden and could reap silver in the medal harvest. Ken Regan/Camera 5; Picture 26, Ken Read, Canada: The top-rated man in an improving crop of Canadian skiers (1976 gold medalist Kathy Kreiner is the leading woman), Read was fifth in the downhill in 1976.Russell/Kelly