A Guide to The Sports of Nordic combined

Nordic combined is a winter sport that consists of cross-country skiing and ski jumping. Nordic combined competition matches are held in Winter Olympic Games, and FIS Nordic Combined World Cup is played to promote Nordic combined. International Ski Federation is the highest authority that controls and manages Nordic combined sport. The International Ski Federation has not permitted any women competition.

Norwegians are the inventor of this sport, and many exceptional Norway players have entertained the audience. Following the Gunderson method, the competitor is declared winner, if he touches the tape at the end of the cross-country race before the other competitors. Nordic combined used to be played with three medal events, including team, sprint, and individual. Following is some information about these three events:

1. Individual Events

In the individual event of Nordic combined, what happens is, on the first day of the competition, the player executes two ski jumps from a hill. The range of the jumps must be either 295 feet or 90 meters. Cross-country race occurs the next day in which the player has to cover the distance of 15 kilometers.

2. Team Events

Team events of Nordic combined are more cherished and preferred by the audience. On the first day of team events, every participating nation with four players in their teams perform two jumps from the hill. The groups are ranked based on these eight jumps on the first day. The next day, the same players who took part in the jumps of the first day, play cross-country race. In the cross-country race, the players relay race for 20 kilometers, and then ski for 5 kilometers.

3. Sprint Events

Sprint events are also well-liked by the spectator. In the sprint event, the player makes a ski jump from the large hill of the range 394 feet (120 meters). And like the first two events, the next day, cross-country race takes place with a length of around 7.5kms.

History of Nordic combined

The skiing was the mode of transportation for centuries, so the skiing techniques were the result of traveling over the snow. Skiing was developed and practiced as early as 600 BC. Inception ski, part of Nordic combined, began in Norway in 1808.

In 1866, in Norway, the world’s first ski jumping competition took place. And the winner of this competition was SondreNorheim, who is also known to be the father of modern ski jumping.  Kongsberger Technique is a popular technique that was developed after World War I. This technique helped SeppBradl of Austria in accomplishing 101-meter jump in 1936.

Since 1924 Nordic combined has been part of the Winter Olympics, and since 1983, FIS Nordic Combined World Cup. In 1928, Canada started competing in Nordic Combined. In 1892, the first significant Nordic combined competition occurred at the first Holmenkollen ski jump. King Olav V of Norway competed in the Holmenkollen Ski Festival that had happened in the 1920s.

Till the 1950s, the cross-country event used to take place before ski jumping. But the order was reversed due to a significant difference in the races of ski jumping and cross-country race. So, the ski jumping occurs on the first day, whereas the cross-country on the next. Norwegians were the dominator of Nordic combined, along with Finns. But Georg Thoma of the West German broke this chain by winning the gold medal at the 1960 Winter Olympics.

The women were not permitted to participate in the competition as per the International Ski Federation law 2010. In early-November 2016, it was decided that the women competitions were to be set up on FIS-level. They would begin during the second half of the 2010s with incorporation at the World Championship starting in 2021; and at the Olympic Winter Games, in the year 2022. But it was canceled in July 2018 by IOC.

Playing Environment for Nordic combined Sport

The snowfields and hilly areas are the requirements for playing Nordic combined. Since the players in Nordic combined are required to ski jump on the wide-open and flat surface, snow is needed. In Nordic combined, the players have to exhibit their skills like sliding, balancing, and jumping the rough hills. For this reason, the area should be sloppy with more sliding edges.

Participating Countries

Nordic combined is highly admired and well-liked all around the world. Since after the introduction of Nordic combined into the modern Olympics in 1924, its popularity heightened exponentially in different nations. Many Asians, as well as Non-Asian countries, actively took part in Nordic combined. Some of the significant and influential Asian countries are Japan, Korea, and Kazakhstan.

But in Europe, generally, the Scandinavian countries are leading this sport. The other included countries are Norway, Germany, Poland, Austria, and Italy. Eric Frenzel of Germany participated in the Sochi Olympics and achieved the gold medal in men’s individual event.

Norway has the honor of building some of the extraordinary players of Nordic combined. Moreover, in the Sochi Olympics, the men’s team of Norway earned a gold medal. In men’s individual LH category, Jorgen Graabak of Norway won the gold medal.

Equipment for Nordic combined

Nordic combined includes the instruments of both- ski jumping and cross-country skiing. Some of the tools used in Nordic combined are:

  1. Connection Cord

The connection cord is the part of the binding. It attaches the ski to the boots, preventing the ski from the unsteadiness during the flight.

  1. Boots

Skiers used specially designed boots that help them in inclining forward during the flying. The ski jumping boots are high-backed with a low cut at the front. They are designed to be flexible.

  1. Bindings

While mounting the binding, always bind it parallel to the run-direction and place it in such a way that 57% of the ski can be used as a front part. Unfasten the binding from the boots in case of a fall.

  1. Helmet

The helmet not only enhances the aerodynamic flight, but it also shields the head from any injury. Since the 1980s, full head protection has been made mandatory.

  1. Gloves

The outer side of the ski jumping gloves must be made up of the same material as the suit, which is microfiber. Whereas, the inner side of the gloves must be made of goat leather. The gloves are secured with a Velcro tape around the wrist of the skiers.

  1. Goggles

To prevent the tearing of eyes, all the competitors wear eye-protectors.

  1. Ski Jumping Suit

It is compulsory to use the same material for designing all parts of the ski jumping suit. The suit should have some air-permeable parts. The ski jumping suits are made heavier since this sport is played on a track made of snow. The suit should be stretchable and smooth.

  1. Ski Jumping Skis

The jumping skis are designed specially to be used at steep hills for skiing. These skis are 140% of the height of the skier in length. Some specific geometric features are considered as well before forming the curvature of the skis.

  1. Poles

The poles that are used for cross-country race are long and linear. The pole can reach up to the chin of the player. The poles have a specially designed basket. The basket helps the skier to clear the snow.

  1. Backpack

Carrying a bag is mandatory for the competitors in case he is unable to avail of any help. The skier backpack contains a few items like a water bottle, an action camera, sweet chocolates, mobile or GPS, first aid box, and should be light-weighted. Chocolates provide instant energy and carbohydrates, whereas water will prevent dehydration.

Rules of Nordic combined

To make the scoring system smoother and fan-friendly, in 1988, a new scoring method was established at Winter Sports played in Calgary. Gunder Gunderson from Norway invented the lastest formula. According to this rule, the competitor who crosses the finishing line first in cross-country skiing wins the game.

The result of ski jumping is announced first, and then the result of cross-country skiing is announced. The scoring method of ski jumping is that the competitor with the maximum points is declared as the winner. After the declaration of the winner of the ski jumping, the players prepare themselves for a pursuit race.

Pursuit race is one of the crucial characteristics of Nordic combined. It determines the winner of cross-country as well as Nordic combined. The idea of the pursuit race is that an advantage of a few seconds is given to the winner of ski jumping.

The winner of the ski jumping starts the race for the next stage, and the player next to him by the difference of a specific time follows him by that exact time. The same method is applied in the case of other players as well.

Final Words

The sport of Nordic combined involves two very well-liked and appreciated sports; ski jumping and cross-country skiing. Nordic combined has a massive audience, and it is admired in Asian as well as Non-Asian countries. It requires a lot of practice and professionalism.

If you are interested in playing this sport, then you need to be aware of the basics of this sport and the risk associated with it. You should gain proper knowledge of the standard rules and guidelines and must know about the precautionary measures as well.