Winter Olympics

Olympic Nordic Combined 2014: Complete Guide for Sochi Winter Olympics

Lyle FitzsimmonsFeatured ColumnistFebruary 6, 2014

Olympic Nordic Combined 2014: Complete Guide for Sochi Winter Olympics

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    Jens Meyer/Associated Press

    Nordic combined individual events have been on the Olympic roster since the inaugural Winter Games in 1924. The team competition was introduced at the Calgary Games in 1988, with each team comprising three skiers. By the Nagano Games 10 years later, that number was upped to four.

    The ski events include a jump competition and a 10-kilometer cross-country race.

    There are three men’s events in the Olympic programthe individual event with a normal hill jump, the individual event with a large hill jump and the team event, with two jumps from the large hill for each team member and a 20-kilometer relay in which each of the four team members skis five kilometers.

    It remains the last of the Olympic skiing events to limit competition to men only.

    Click through for all you need to know heading into Sochi.

Overview

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    Jens Meyer/Associated Press

    The individual event (aka the Gundersen race) comes in two stages.

    The first is a jump from the normal or large hill, with each participant jumping once. The second stage is a 10-kilometer race. Points are scored for distance and style in the ski-jumping section. Competitors with the most points start first in the cross-country race, followed by the next best jumper after a gap that reflects the difference in their jump scores. The first skier to finish wins.

    The team event is similar to the individual portion, except that teams of four compete. Each skier has one jump on a large hill. Points for all jumps count toward the team total. A 45-point difference yields a 60-second advantage in the second event, the 20-kilometer cross-country relay. The winner is the team whose skier finishes first.

History

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    Alexis Boichard/Agence Zoom/Getty Images

    The Nordic combined event has a 102-year history in the host country of this year's Games.

    Russia’s first Nordic combined competition was held near St. Petersburg on Feb. 19, 1912. It included a ski-jumping event and a cross-country event of about 2.5 miles.

    The development of the event in Russia was driven by growth of the World Championships and the Olympics. Team events involving three athletes were introduced in 1982, when the competition included a jumping event and a 30-kilometer cross-country relay.

Schedule, TV and Live Stream Info

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    Jens Meyer/Associated Press

    Event competition in Sochi will stretch over three days.

    Feb. 12 will include the individual competition round on the normal hill at 4:30 a.m. (ET) and the cross-country race that will determine the medal winners at 7:30 a.m. (ET).

    On Feb. 18, it's the individual competition round on the large hill, also at 4:30 a.m. (ET), and the cross-country race to determine the medal winners at 7:30 a.m. (ET).

    The event wraps up on Feb. 20 with the team competition on the large hill at 3 a.m. (ET) and the cross-country race to determine the team standings at 6 a.m. (ET).

    Here's where you can catch the events on TV or online:

    - TV Listings

    - Live Stream

Athletes to Watch

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    Vianney Thibaut/Agence Zoom/Getty Images

    Eric Frenzel of Germany, now 25, is the reigning world champion on the large hill, was the 2011 world champion on the normal hill and is the 2014 World Cup leader as the scene shifts to Sochi. He won bronze in the team event four years ago in Vancouver and will again have a chance to reach the podium with his countrymen.

    Frenchman Jason Lamy-Chappuis, who was actually born in Montana, won gold in Vancouver on the normal hill and is the reigning world champion in that segment. Austrian Bernhard Gruber is also in the mix, having captured a silver medal on the large hill in the 2013 World Championships and bronze during the 2010 Games in Vancouver.

    Deep teams will also be fielded by Japan and Norway, as well as the United States, which won four of nine possible medals in the 2010 Olympics.

Individual Normal Hill/Individual 10km

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    Vianney Thibaut/Agence Zoom/Getty Images

    What is it

    The normal hill ski jump has competitors traveling 105 meters down the jump hill before they become airborne. Scores from the event's jump portion dictate the time stagger for the concluding portion, a 10-kilometer cross-country ski race. First racer to cross the finish line is the winner.

     

    Key Storylines

    The U.S. does not have a gold-medal favorite, but France's best hope for gold, Jason Lamy-Chappuis, was actually born in Missoula, Mont. He won the 2010 gold in Vancouver by just four-tenths of a second over American Johnny Spillane, the narrowest margin in Olympic history.

Individual Large Hill/Individual 10km

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    Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

    What is it

    The large hill ski jump has competitors traveling 140 meters down the jump hill before they become airborne. Scores from the event's jump portion dictate the time stagger for the concluding portion, a 10-kilometer cross-country ski race. First racer to cross the finish line is the winner.

     

    Key Storylines

    The U.S. established itself as a world commodity in the event during 2010 in Vancouver, with Bill Demong winning gold and Johnny Spillane taking silver. Demong is back to represent his country again in Sochi, but Spillane is not. He retired last year.

Team Large Hill/Team Relay 4X5km

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    Vianney Thibaut/Agence Zoom/Getty Images

    What is it

    The team event has competitors traveling down the large (140 meters) hill before they become airborne. Each team member takes two jumps, and the results are added together. The team with the highest combined score begins first in the cross-country race, which has each member skiing five kilometers. The team whose skier finishes first wins gold.

     

    Key Storylines

    The Norwegians are credited with originating the sport, and they could be the deepest conglomerate in the field, coming in after a second-place finish to France in the most recent World Championships. Mikko Kokslien, Magnus Krog, Haavard Klemetsen and Magnus Moan will be difficult to beat.

Team USA Outlook

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    After 2010's performance in Vancouver, the U.S. won't be sneaking up on anyone.

    The Americans stepped into an event that's typically the domain of Scandinavians and the Europeans in the last Olympics, winning a gold and three silvers across the three men's-only competitions.

    Large hill golden boy Bill Demong returns, though dual silver medalist Johnny Spillane has since retired. The U.S.'s other medal in Vancouver was a silver in the team event.

    Joining the roster in Sochi is 37-year-old veteran Todd Lodwick, who'll be returning after a shoulder injury sustained during a World Cup event in January. It'll be his sixth Olympic appearance. Also returning for an Olympic encore is 23-year-old Taylor Fletcher, while the fourth spot will be taken by his older brother, Bryan, who's 27 and a first-time Olympian.

Medal Predictions

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    Christophe Pallot/Agence Zoom/Getty Images

    Individual - Normal Hill

    Gold: Eric Frenzel (Germany)

    Silver: Jason Lamy-Chappuis (France)

    Bronze: Mario Stecher (Austria)

     

    Individual - Large Hill

    Gold: Eric Frenzel (Germany)

    Silver: Akito Watabe (Japan)

    Bronze: Bill Demong (United States)

     

    Team

    Gold: Germany

    Silver: Norway

    Bronze: France

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