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Monday, September 26, 2022

The Nordic Combined event, which is one of the oldest sports in the Winter Olympics, is in danger of being eliminated

The leaders of Nordic combined, one of the original disciplines at the Winter Olympics, were pretty certain that they had ensured the survival of their sport for many years to come after over a decade of encouraging the participation of girls and women.

The sport, which needs expertise in both ski jumping and cross-country skiing, had formed a women’s World Cup circuit and hosted a women’s competition at the world championships. Ski jumping was also one of the events at the world championships. Participants came from all around the world, including North America, Europe, and Asia.

After then, some unsettling information was released by the leadership of the international governing organisation for skiing. The individuals at the International Olympic Committee who are in charge of the programme for the next winter Games, which will take place in Milan-Cortina, Italy in 2026, are unconvinced that the sport has made sufficient development to warrant a tournament just for women.

And it wasn’t the only piece of troubling information. There are others who are concerned that Nordic combined is not popular enough to warrant holding any kind of tournament at all. Since the Olympics are meant to place a premium on gender equality, the only event in which women do not compete is the Nordic combined. Because of this, the Nordic combined might be a contender for deletion.

Malacinski, who is 21 years old, put her full-time studies in college on hold in order to pursue a career in Nordic combined. She has high hopes of being among the first group of women to compete in the event at the Olympics, similar to the women who competed in the first women’s ski jumping competition in 2014. Malacinski is inspired by the women who competed in the first women’s ski jumping competition in 2014. She works out for almost five hours every day, dividing her time between jumping practise, endurance training, and strength workouts in the gym. Her goal is to be strong enough to push through cross country races, yet light enough to soar far during the leap.

The possibility of the sport’s extinction is a source of significant worry in northern Europe, which ranks among the regions in the world with the highest participation rates in winter sports. A representative for the International Olympic Committee acknowledged that the sports programme for Milan-Cortina would be discussed at the next meeting of the executive board. He also stated that the programme committee will give suggestions, but “all the rest is conjecture.”

The organisers are working hard to reduce the number of events in the Games while simultaneously adding new competitions that are popular among younger people. Eileen Gu, a freestyle skier, was the unexpected standout at the Olympic Winter Games held in Beijing in 2008. She won gold medals in big air and halfpipe and a silver medal in slopestyle, all of which were sports that did not exist a decade prior. This is the first year that skiing has included big air.

Officials from Nordic combined and the executives of FIS, the international governing organisation for skiing, have been informed that the problem at hand for the International Olympic Committee is not just equality but also relevance.

The organisers are working hard to reduce the number of events in the Games while simultaneously adding new competitions that are popular among younger people. Eileen Gu, a freestyle skier, was the unexpected standout at the Olympic Winter Games held in Beijing in 2008. She won gold medals in big air and halfpipe and a silver medal in slopestyle, all of which were sports that did not exist a decade prior. This is the first year that skiing has included big air.

A combined competition was used to determine who the best skier in the world was a hundred years ago, back when the only types of skiing that were really being done were cross-country skiing and ski jumping. The first Olympic competition consisted of just 16 events in nine different sports. There are now over 100 competitions in 15 different sports. As a result of the development of Alpine skiing and freestyle skiing, not to mention snowboarding, Nordic combined is no longer used to determine who the king or queen of the mountain is.

Officials in the sport of skiing and participants in the sport have said that the critiques of the sport are equivalent to shifting the goal posts. Officials from the International Olympic Committee advised the sport that it must work toward gender equality and launch a tournament just for women. Its leaders accomplished that, and they believe that increasing the number of girls and women who participate in the sport is the key to widening the popularity of the sport.

As soon as it was announced that women’s ski jumping would be included in the Olympics, financing for the sport rose, and the level of competition skyrocketed. This was because young women, as young as 13, began to see ski jumping as a path that might lead them to the Olympics.

Dan O'Brien
I am a journalist for The National Era with an emphasis in sports.
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