Nordic combined consists of a cross-country ski race and ski jumping. Originally, it was considered the most important Nordic skiing event by the Scandinavians. The discipline has been held at the Olympic Winter Games since the start, in 1924. Norway has been most successful in this sport, winning 35 medals and 15 golds, the double of the runner-up, Germany, with 18 medals and seven titles.
Norwegian Jørgen Graabak leads the gold medal count in the discipline, with four Olympic titles. He is followed by Eric Frenzel (GER), Samppa Lajunen (FIN), Felix Gottwald (AUT), and Ulrich Wehling (GDR). Among these athletes with three gold medals, East German Wehling stands out as the greatest competitor, winning the title three times in a row, at a time when just one combined event was held. Frenzel and Gottwald lead the overall medal count, with seven medals, followed by Graabak, with six.
The sport is governed internationally by the Fédération Internationale de Ski (FIS), which had 136 member nations as of 2022. The FIS also governs Alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, freestyle skiing, ski jumping, and snowboarding.
As of 2022, the number of events has grown to three, all for men only. The two individual events both feature 10 km cross-country skiing, preceded by a ski jump from either the large hill or the normal hill. In the team event, first introduced in 1988, each member takes a jump from the large hill, followed by a four-person relay. In each cross-country race, the ski jumping leader starts first, with the other competitors starting behind him, with the delay determined by the difference in ski jumping points, the “Gundersen Method”.
Through 2022, Nordic combined is the only Winter Olympic discipline with no events for women, although that may change in the future, as women’s sports groups have been lobbying to add women’s Nordic combined to the Olympic Programme. Concurrently, however, there has been some discussion at the International Olympic Committee as to the place of Nordic combined in the Olympic Winter Games, men or women, including discussions about whether it should be dropped from the Programme.