A total of 55 Nordic combined athletes – all events are for men – will compete at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.
As the name suggests, the event is a combination of two separate sports – ski jumping followed by cross-country skiing – which take place on the same day. Watch out for the soaring jumps and exhausting chases.
Read on to find out the schedule of events and the best way to watch the action.
Nordic combined events at Beijing 2022
There are three Nordic combined events at Beijing 2022 – the Gundersen large hill/10km, Gundersen normal hill/10km and the Gundersen large hill/4 x 5km.
All three events consist of a ski jumping competition and a cross-country skiing competition. In the team large hill event, four athletes jump, then participate in a cross-country relay comprised of four 5km legs.
The Nordic combined has been contested at the Winter Olympics since the inaugural Winter Games in 1924 and has remained a men’s only event.
Nordic combined stars to watch at Beijing 2022
Boasting six Olympic medals, Frenzel is considered one of the greatest Nordic combined athletes of all time. Frenzel could make history in Beijing 2022 as the first man to win four gold medals in the Nordic combined at the Olympic Games.
The seven-time world champion claimed double gold in PyeongChang 2018 – in the Gundersen normal hill/10km and team Gundersen large hill/4 x 5km. He also clinched the bronze in the Gundersen large hill/10km.
Four-time Olympian Watabe, who was runner up to Frenzel in the normal hill in Sochi 2014 and PyeongChang 2018, will be hoping to finally break the German's stranglehold and claim the top step on his fourth attempt.
However, Norway's on-fire Jarl Magnus Riiber looks like the top contender for top honours if he can convert his current form into Olympic success. Riiber has been peerless during this World Cup winter and will be buoyed by his successful normal hill title defence at the 2021 world championships.
The Norwegian ace also poses a threat to German Johannes Rydzek's bid to retain his crown in the large hill competition. The 20-year-old Johannes Lamparter of Austria may stake a claim for the favourite tag after winning the world title in the large hill.
Nordic combined schedule at Beijing 2022
Venue: Zhangjiakou Ski Jump and Cross-Country Centre
(All times are in local time, UTC+8)
16:00 – Individual Gundersen Normal Hill/10km, Ski Jumping Competition Round
19:00 – Individual Gundersen Normal Hill/10km, Cross-Country
16:00 – Individual Gundersen Large Hill/10km, Ski Jumping Competition Round
19:00 – Individual Gundersen Large Hill/10km, Cross-Country
16:00 – Team Gundersen Large Hill/4x5km, Ski Jumping Competition Round
19:00 – Team Gundersen Large Hill/4x5km, Cross-Country
How to watch Nordic combined at Beijing 2022
Nordic combined athletes have to master two uniquely different sports to make it at the highest level. Part adrenalin, part endurance junkies, Nordic combined athletes first launch themselves head-forward down a hill into the air in the ski jumping event before a pursuit race in the 10km cross-country ski competition later on the same day.
"It's all about balance between ski jumping – which is nothing normal, nobody normal jumps down a hill – and totally different skills in cross-country skiing," three-time Olympic gold medallist Felix Gottwald told Olympics.com.
"In cross-country skiing, it's endurance, really hard, intensive training, and in ski jumping there's this technical part, you have to activate your fast muscles. But to find the balance between those two disciplines was the fascinating part."
In the technical ski-jumping portion of the competition, athletes score points for distance and style. Their position following the ski-jumping leg will determine their starting order in the cross-country event. Ski jumping points are converted into time penalties using the Gundersen conversion method, where one point equals four seconds.
The winner of the ski jumping would start first in the cross-country, with the other competitions following according to the converted time differences.
Frenzel, who has been doing Nordic combined since the age of 5, does not only enjoy the variety the discipline provides but also the second chances.
“When you jump, and have a good jump, you have the opportunity to be very tactical and have a lot of strategy [in the cross-country],” Frenzel said in an interview with Olympics.com.
“But when you have a not-so-good jump you still have the chance to make it better, to give all that you have, and hope you still get a good place at the end. You have a second opportunity to turn a not-so-good day into a better one.”