Beijing 2022 Bluffer's Guide: Nordic Combined

By Ned Kelly, January 29, 2022

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What is it?

Nordic combined is a unique event, in that it is made up of two completely separate sports: a ski jumping competition followed a cross-country skiing race.

The competition has been contested at the Winter Olympics ever since the inaugural Winter Games in 1924 and in all that time, no women's events have ever been added to the program. And that tradition of the patriarchy has not changed for Beijing 2022.

The Nordic combined competition at Beijing 2022 will feature three events:

  • Individual Gundersen normal hill/10 kilometer; a ski jump on the normal hill and a 10 kilometer cross-country ski race.

  • Individual Gundersen large hill/10 kilometer; a ski jump on the large hill and a 10 kilometer cross-country ski race.

  • Team Gundersen large hill/4x5 kilometer; a ski jump on the large hill and a 4x5 kilometer cross-country relay race.

The 'Gundersen' here refers to the Gundersen Method, which is used to determine a competitor's starting position for the cross country portion of each event following the ski jumping events, which always come first.

Once the jumping points are totaled, they are converted into time penalties. So the winner of the ski jump starts first in the cross-country, with the other competitors staggered with handicaps according to the converted time penalties, and playing catch-up.

When is it?

February 9-17

Where is it?

National Biathlon Center, Zhangjiakou Zone

Who’s gonna win?

Germany’s Eric Frenzel cemented his status as one of the greatest Nordic combined athletes of all time at the 2018 Winter Olympics, winning a medal in every Nordic combined event – gold in the normal hill/10 kilometer and team large hill/4x5 kilometer, and bronze in the large hill/10 kilometer, and the six-time Olympic medalist is favorite to podium again.

Looking to make legends of their own as Akito Watabe of Japan, who finished second to Frenzel in the normal hill/10 kilometer at the 2014 and 2018 Winter Games, and Norway’s Jarl Magnus Riiber, who finished fourth in the normal hill/10 kilometer in Pyeongchang, and is the two-time defending World Champion in both the normal hill and team normal hill/5 kilometer.

What about China?

All hopes rest on 21-year-old Zhao Jiawen, who qualified after finishing 22nd in the International Ski Federation (FIS) Nordic Combined Continental Cup in Nizhny Tagil, Russia back in November. A medal might be optimistic, but who knows?

Check out all 15 events in our Beijing 2022 Bluffer's Guide by scanning the QR code:

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[Cover image via Wiki]

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