Winter Olympics: Nordic Combined
Long dominated by Scandinavian countries
by John Gettings and Christine Frantz
The Nordic combined involves two staples of the Winter Games: ski jumping and cross-country skiing.
A new scoring system, introduced at the 1988 Winter Games in Calgary, made the event more fan-friendly. The Gunderson Method, named for its inventor, is a system that judges use to award the first starting position in the cross-country race. The rest of the athletes' ski jumping scores are then converted into staggered start times.
In the past it took judges hours after the event to finish comparing ski jump points and cross-country times and thus determine the winner. This revolutionary formula sped up the process.
The new procedure meant that, for the first time, the first athlete to break the tape at the end of the cross-country race was the overall winner.
The Nordic combined at Turin will feature three medal events:
The Nordic Combined will be held on Feb. 14, 23, and 25. The venue for all the Nordic disciplines during the 2010 Games is the new Whistler Olympic Park, in an area called the Callaghan Valley.
In 2006, Austria, Germany, and Norway dominated the medals in the individual and team events.
The United States' best chance at winning its first medal are veteran Olympians Bill Demong, Todd Lodwick and Johnny Spilane. All three have made impressive showings in recent world competitions.
More about the 2010 Winter Olympics