Q: What is Nordic combined?
It’s all in the name: Events are a combination of Nordic sports, cross-country skiing and ski jumping.
Nordic combined has been in the Winter Olympic program since the first Games in Chamonix, France, in 1924. The team event was added in 1988 and a second individual event, using a large hill ski jump, was added in 2002.
Q: How many Nordic combined events will be contested in PyeongChang?
Three, all at the Alpensia Jumping and Cross-Country Skiing venues.
The event names seem complicated until you understand the format. For instance, the first event contested in PyeongChang will be the individual Gundersen normal hill/10 km. That means it’s an individual event, with the ski jumping done on a normal hill, followed by a 10 kilometer cross-country race.
So what is “Gundersen”? The finish of the ski jumping portion is used to calculate the start order of the cross-country race. The formula was created by Norwegian Gundar Gundersen and has been used since the 1980s.
The other events are the individual Gundersen large hill/10 km and the team Gunderson large hill/4.5km relay.
All events are for men, but women’s events are being developed for World Cup competition and could be added to future Olympics.
Q: Which countries are best at Nordic combined?
Norway swept the medals in the normal hill event in the first four Olympics, but the playing field has leveled. Finland, Austria and France are among the top teams, but in 2018, the Germans are the ones to beat.
Q: Has the United States ever won an Olympic medal in Nordic combined?
Yes, four medals, all in the 2010 Olympics at Vancouver. Bill DeMong won gold in the individual large hill, and Johnny Spillane won silver in both the large and normal hill events. The United States also took the silver in the team event.
Q: Who is competing for the United States in PyeongChang?
Brothers Bryan and Taylor Fletcher, Ben Berend, Jasper Good and Ben Loomis. Bryan Fletcher is the top-ranked American in the World Cup standings, at No. 29.
Q: Who are some athletes to watch?
In late January, Akito Watabe of Japan become the second combined athlete in history to win all three days of competition at a World Cup event in Seefeld, Austria, and he is the current leader in the World Cup standings.
The first athlete to do so, Germany’s Eric Frenzel, won the gold medal in the normal hill at the 2014 Olympics, and he’s won the past five World Cup titles.
Jan Schmid of Norway has won three World Cup events this season and is just 20 points behind Watabe in the World Cup standings.
Norway’s Joergen Graabak won a World Cup event in Val di Femme, Italy, in January, edging Germany’s Johannes Ryzdek and Austria’s Lukas Klapfer.
Ryzdek is the reigning world champion, and with Frenzel, Fabian Riessle and Bjoern Kircheisen, Germany has the inside track for team gold.
Q: When is Nordic combined contested, and how can I watch it on TV?
The first Nordic combined medal is awarded on Feb. 14, the first full day of Olympic competition, and the last comes on the 22nd.
All events will air on NBC and NBCSN, but only two will be shown live. Here is a schedule of the finals, with television coverage in parentheses (all times Eastern). Live telecasts are in bold. Races are also available by live-streaming at NBCOlympics.com or on the NBC Sports app. Daily TV listings can be found here.
Feb. 14: Individual Gundersen normal hill; ski jumping, 1 a.m. and cross-country, 3:45 a.m. (NBCSN, 2:30-6:30 a.m.; NBC, 3 p.m.-5 p.m.)
Feb 20: Individual Gundersen large hill; ski jumping, 5 a.m. and cross-country, 7:45 a.m. (NBCSN, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; NBC, 3-5 p.m.)
Feb. 22: Team Gundersen large hill, ski jumping, 2:30 a.m. and cross-country relay, 7:20 p.m. (NBCSN, 2 a.m.-5:20 a.m., 5:20 a.m.-7:45 a.m.; NBC, 3-5 p.m.)
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