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Nordic combined
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Nordic combined

The nordic combined is a winter sport in which competitors involve in both cross-country skiing and ski jumping.

History

While Norwegian soldiers are known to have been competing in nordic skiing since the 18th century, the first major competition in nordic combined was held in 1892 in Oslo at the first Holmenkollen Ski Festival, an event still held annually. In Norway, popularity of the Holmenkollrenn, and nordic combined in general, was great, and in fact separate ski jumping events weren't held at Holmenkollen until 1933.

The sport was included at the 1924 Winter Olympics, and has been on the programme ever since. World Championships have been held since 1925.

Traditionally, Norway has always delivered top athletes in the sport, but Finland, Germany, Austria and Japan are also among the top nations in the nordic combined. As of 2004, top athletes in the sport include triple Olympic Champion Samppa Lajunen, Ronny Ackermann and John Spillane.

Competition

Until the 1960s, the cross-country race was held first, followed by the ski jumping. This was reversed as difference in the cross-country race tended to be to big to overcome in ski jumping.

There are currently four kinds of nordic combined events. The most common is the individual race, also known as the Individual Gundersen. This event encompasses two jumps from a ski jumping hill, and 15 km cross country skiing. Points are scored in ski jumping 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, 15 points difference in the ski jump equal one minute. 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 also the winner of the event. This method of competition, also known as the Gundersen method, was introduced in the late 1980s. Before, athletes would start the final race in intervals, and the gold medal would be decided on points.

The sprint event is basically the same, but only one jump is performed, and the cross-country distance is 7.5 km.

In the mass start event, the cross country race is held first. The winner of that event receives 120 points, the others get 15 points subtracted for each minute behind the leader. In the ski jump, no style points are awarded, although jumpers receive less points for falling or failing to make a Telemark landing.

The team event is again similar to the individual event, but contested by teams of four athletes. Each takes 2 jumps from the ski jump hill, with all jumps counting towards the team total. Forty points difference equals a one minute advantage in the second event, the 4 x 5 m cross-country relay.

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