Nordic combined: history, features, disciplines

Лыжное двоеборье

In our article “Nordic combined” you will learn about a winter sport in which athletes compete in two disciplines: ski jumping and ski cross.

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Nordic combined is a winter sport in which athletes compete in ski cross and ski jumping. These two events are performed separately, but together they determine the winner.

Ski jumping
Ski jumping

Modern individual competitions consist of normal or large jumps and a 10 kilometer race. The height of the normal ski jump is 90 meters and the big jump up to 120 meters.

The athlete must ski down a long track with a ramp at the end. When the ramp ends, the skier jumps off. The athlete must fly as far as possible landing on a snowy slope. The competitor receives points for the length of the jump.

In ski cross competitions are held on the ski track, and it is usually a lot of ups and downs, a lot of turns, which alternate with straight sections. The athlete with the most points in the jumps starts first in the race.

The rest of the competitors enter the course with a lag, which is determined on the basis of 4 seconds for each jumping point. The athlete’s task is to make up for the lost advantage and win the race. The winner of the cross race becomes the winner of the competition.

Given that skiers compete in two different sports, they need two sets of equipment. For ski jumping, these are long, wide skis, an aerodynamic suit, helmet and goggles.

Meanwhile, in racing, the athlete rides on smaller and more maneuverable skis, and instead of a helmet, he wears a hat and sunglasses.

Ski cross
Ski cross

Nordic combined was first officially held in 1882 on a ski jump in Oslo. The sport became more and more popular, even King Olav V of Norway himself participated in the 1920 Holmenkollen Ski Festival as a ski jumper.

Not surprisingly, Nordic combined was soon introduced as a separate competitive program at the first Winter Olympics in 1924. For a very long time this sport remained a men’s sport, and it was only in 2010 that women’s events were included in the World Championships.

For the first time at the Olympics, women’s competition was to be held in 2022, but the debut for women was canceled this time due to insufficient preparation of the discipline itself. It is more likely that gender equality will be demonstrated at the 2026 Olympic Games in Italy.

For a long time the best in Nordic combined were Norwegians, but the monopoly on the championship was defeated by German athlete Ronny Ackermann. He became the first Nordic skier to win the individual race at the World Championships three times in a row. He has a total of 10 World Championship gold medals and three Olympic silver medals.

Nordic combined is one of the oldest sports in our country. The first competitions were held back in Leningrad in 1912, and since 1935 Nordic combined became a part of the USSR championship program.

Valery Stolyarov in Nagano
Valery Stolyarov in Nagano

Alas, our athletes have not yet been able to boast of achievements in the international arena. In the entire history of the Olympic Games, Russian athletes have climbed the podium only three times (2 bronze awards, 1 silver).

The first bronze medal was won by Nikolay Gusakov in 1960, and the second, the ultimate medal, was brought by Valery Stolyarov in Nagano in 1998. Nikolai Kiselev’s second place in 1964 in Innsbruck remains the highest achievement to this day.

The main problem of the low quality of performances is the popularization of the sport among young people and, accordingly, funding. If in the USSR about 100-150 people came to the competitions, now 30-40 athletes are the norm at the Russian Championships. From such a number of athletes it will be very difficult to find a world-class star.

The elite cost of equipment for athletes of the German national team costs about 30,000 Euros, while the Russian one is six times less. The Ministry of Sports is not engaged in this sport, so there are no results. We hope that in the future the situation will change dramatically.

If you like winter sports or want to try something new, Nordic combined can be a great choice, as there is little competition in our country.

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