Nordic combined: Things you need to know ahead of Lausanne 2020

Brush up on your Nordic combined knowledge ahead of the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games

By Michael Hincks ·

Nordic combined brings together ski jumping and cross-country skiing and makes for one of the most demanding sports around.

Not only does a skier need the courage and guile required for jumping, they then must have the strength and endurance to traverse cross-country – all with the aim of crossing the line first.

This exhausting sport has been a fixture at every Winter Olympics since they began in 1924.

Made in Norway, the sport is no longer dominated solely by the nation where it all began, with Germany and Austria emerging as Nordic combined powerhouses in recent years.

And while it has been a male-only event at the Games, the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games in January will feature women for the first time.

It is set to be a ground-breaking event for the sport, which may have seen minor tweaks over the years, but retains that same necessity whereby only the boldest skiers prevail.

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How to watch Nordic combined at the Youth Olympic Games

Olympic Channel will stream 300 hours of action from the 13 days of competition in Lausanne 2020 with a dedicated Winter YOG channel available on, YouTube and connected devices such as Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Android TV and Roku.

There will be an action-packed daily live show featuring news, highlights, trending stories and interviews in a fun and interactive format streamed on Facebook, Twitter and, plus a daily Olympic Channel Podcast featuring insightful interviews with personalities from across the Olympic world.

Fans can also follow Olympic Channel's coverage on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube to learn more about the event, while a full schedule of events - including online streaming details can be found here.

Nordic combined location and dates

The Nordic combined events take place in Les Tuffes (France) from January 18-22 at Lausanne 2020. (Scroll down for the full schedule)


9 - 22 Jan 2020

Lausanne 2020 | Youth Olympic Games


The origins of Nordic combined

The clue is in the name, although it is specifically Norway where Nordic combined took off in the 19th century.

It was the Holmenkollen ski festival in Oslo which first showcased the sport in 1892, with neighbouring countries Sweden and Finland soon attending the event.

King Olav V of Norway even competed at the festival in the 1920s, a decade where the Olympic Winter Games kicked off in 1924.

The sport featured in Chamonix that year, and has done so at every Games since. Norway’s unsurprising early dominance – having swept up every medal at the first four Games – means they lead the way in the all-time medals list.

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However, Finland, and more recently Austria and Germany, have sought to wrestle away their crown.

Norway have won 31 Olympic medals in the Nordic combined, including 13 golds, with Germany (14, inc. five golds), Finland (14, inc four golds) and Austria (15, inc. three golds) still having some catching up to do.

But it was Germany who ruled the roost at Pyeongchang 2018, with three-time Olympic champion Eric Frenzel leading the charge. He also won gold at the Nordic Ski World Championships earlier in 2019.

Rules and disciplines - in a nutshell

Currently, the Winter Olympics holds three events; the 10km individual normal hill, the 10km individual large hill, and the team normal hill.

The individual normal (90m) and large (120m) hill events are followed by a 10km cross-country race, while the team event consists of the normal hill before a 4 x 5km cross-country relay.

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The ski jumping competition takes place first, with both distance and style contributing towards an overall score.

That score is vital for the cross-country section, where the highest-scoring jumper starts first, with athletes setting off in pursuit at staggered times based on their own score.

Known as the Gundersen method – which has been implemented since the 1980s – this helps create a more fan-friendly scenario where the first across the finish line is the winner.

The Youth Olympic Games in January will feature just the normal hill, followed by a 4km race for women and 6km for men.

There will also be a mixed team event, where six athletes (one male/one female cross-country skier, one male/one female ski jumper, one male/one female Nordic combined athlete) from one nation compete together.

As with the individual events, the combined points tally from the ski jumping in the team event dictates the starting order for the 4 x 3.3km relay.

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Double-up on equipment

This may sound obvious, but two pairs of skis are required in Nordic combined.

Each competitor has Jumping Skis (no longer than 145% of their body height) and Cross-Country Racing Skis, which must weigh 750g and be no shorter than the height of the skier minus 100mm.

Different boots are therefore used in both events, and they are attached to the skis using bindings.

The helmets and goggles seen during the jumping will make way for beanies/headbands, sunglasses and poles when it’s time for the cross-country race.

With aerodynamics playing a vital role in ski jumping, the suits worn must adhere to strict rules, taking into account air permeability and the materials used. The guidelines are so specific that it states the thickness of underwear must not exceed 3mm.

Nordic Combined schedule at Lausanne 2020

Saturday, January 18

10:00 - 16:00 W Individual NH/4km, M Individual NH/6km

Monday, January 20

10:30 - 13:00 Mixed Team

Wednesday, January 22

10:00 - 11:00 Nordic Mixed Team NH 4x3.3km - Ski Jumping
13:30 - 14:30 Nordic Mixed Team NH 4x3.3km - Cross-Country Skiing (Vallée de Joux)