One of the new offerings at Steel City Blitz this offseason is coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. The 23rd Winter Olympics will take place in PyeongChang, South Korea, beginning on Friday, February 9th. Over the week before the Games kick off, we will be previewing each of the 15 events that will comprise the Olympics. For many people, they only pay attention to some of these events once every four years, so consider this a quick refresher on how they work and who to watch for as the Olympics take over the sporting world for a fortnight in February.
You can check out all of our Winter Olympics event previews here.
Today’s preview covers Nordic Combined, which is an event comprised of Ski Jumping and Cross Country Skiing.
Individual large hill/10 km
Individual normal hill/10 km
February 14: Normal Hill/10 km
February 20: Large Hill/10 km
February 22: Team Event
Nordic Combined is the only event at the 2018 Olympic Games that will be contested exclusively by men. Nordic Combined is basically an event that two drunk Norwegians came up with when they were bored. It combines ski jumping and cross country skiing into one competition. It has been a part of the Olympics since the first Winter Games in 1924, but it was a full 24 years (the 1948 games) before a non-Norwegian even won a medal. There are three events that will be competed in 2018: an individual event with a normal hill jump followed by a 10km cross country ski race, a large hill jump followed by a 10km cross country race and a team event where each of 4 team members jump twice from the large hill and complete a 4 x 5km relay.
Norway has traditionally dominated the event with 30 medals (13 golds) all time. After a relative slump between 2002 and 2010, the Norwegian team returned to form in Sochi 2014, winning 4 medals including the Team Event gold. Finland (14 medals, 4 golds) and Austria (13 medals, 3 golds) have also fared well historically though Finland has not won a medal since taking bronze in the team event in Turin 2006. The Austrians and Germans have been stronger recently with both medalling in the last 4 team events and Germans taking two of the last three golds in the normal hill event.
The United States has won four medals in Nordic Combined, all of them coming in the Vancouver 2010 games. In Vancouver, Bill Demong won gold in the large hill event while Johnny Spillane took silver in both the normal hill and large hill and the US won silver in the team event. The United States does not currently have an athlete ranked in the Top 50 in the World in Nordic Combined, so it is unlikely they will replicate their success from Vancouver.