Taylor Fletcher competes in the ski jumping HS109 leg of the nordic combined during the 2019 Stora Enso FIS World Ski Championships on Feb. 28, 2019 in Seefeld, Austria.

 

Combining the sports of ski jumping and cross-country skiing, Nordic combined is considered by purists to be the quintessential Nordic event. Competitors begin with a ski jumping competition that determines the starting order for a 10-kilometer cross-country race. The first skier to cross the finish line wins.

Nordic combined in some form has been part of every Olympic Winter Games since the first one in 1924. Since 2010, it has included three events: men’s normal hill / 10-kilometer, men’s large hill / 10-kilometer, and men’s team relay

Norway has traditionally dominated the sport, with 13 golds and 31 total medals coming into Beijing. Germany ranks second with six golds and 16 total medals. Team USA has won four medals in the sport, with all four — including Billy Demong’s gold — coming at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.

Although the U.S. has since been unable to match that golden era, the team has enjoyed spurts of success in the years since, including a team bronze medal at the 2013 world championships. Taylor Fletcher, a 2022 Olympian, was part of that team.

This year’s Nordic combined competition will be held at the National Ski Jumping Centre and the National Cross-Country Centre in the Zhangjiakou venue cluster 110 miles northwest of Beijing.

Updated on January 28, 2022. For more information, contact the sport press officer here.

Norway might be the sport’s traditional power, but Germany swept the three gold medals in PyeongChang. However, the Norwegians were back at the 2021 world championships, with Jarl Magnus Riiber winning the normal hill event and helping the team to victory as well.

Taylor Fletcher has been a stalwart for Team USA for more than a decade, and he continues to lead the way. However, a new generation of skiers that has some thinking back to the glory days of 2010 is coming on hot. Fletcher led the Americans at the 2021 world championships, finishing 30th in the normal hill event and 28th in the large hill event. But young teammates Ben Loomis and Jared Shumate, who both have enjoyed recent success at the junior world championships, were top 40 in both.

As the Olympic Games strive to achieve gender equality, Nordic combined remains one of the rare sports that does not include a women’s event. Women’s Nordic combined only became internationally recognized in 2016. Women’s Nordic combined was included in the 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games, and proponents hope to see it on the Olympic level soon.

Taylor Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, Colorado): The veteran Fletcher earned his spot on Team USA by winning the Olympic trials in December in Lake Placid, New York. With the second-best jump, Fletcher started 56 seconds behind teammate Ben Loomis. The 31-year-old Fletcher — who teammates nicknamed “Old Man” — used his blazing cross-country skiing speed to pass his younger teammate in the 10K race and claim the title. Beijing will mark Fletcher’s fourth Olympics.

Ben Loomis (Eau Claire, Wisconsin): After posting the best ski jumping score at the Olympic trials, the 23-year-old Loomis held on to finish second. It might not be long before he takes over that top spot. Loomis has long been seen as a rising star in the sport, going back to his silver medal at the 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway. Two years later, Loomis won a bronze medal at the junior world championships, then went on to make his Olympic debut in PyeongChang. He has consistently been in the top 30 in world cup competitions this season.

Jared Shumate (Park City, Utah): Like Loomis, the 22-year-old Shumate is leading a new generation of American Nordic combined athletes. Shumate, who finished third at the Olympic trials, made his world championships debut in 2019 and recorded a career-best 25th-place finish at a world cup competition in January in Italy. Growing up, Shumate could see the ski jumps used during the 2002 Olympics from his Park City home.

Meet the full U.S. Olympic Nordic combined team in this teamusa.org article

Feb. 9 - Normal Hill / 10K
Feb. 15 - Large Hill / 10K
Feb. 17 - Team Large Hill /4x5K