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Nordic Combined 101: History

Feb 19, 2003; Val Di Fiemme, Italy: A general training feature of Nordic combined skiing.
Feb 19, 2003; Val Di Fiemme, Italy: A general training feature of Nordic combined skiing.

Nordic skiing is in many ways the ancestor of all skiing, combining the elements of cross-country skiing and jumping that were utilized by Scandinavian hunters thousands of years ago. More recently, the Swedish army was equipped with skis for use in their border patrols around the year 1500.

The sport of nordic skiing began to make advances in the mid-nineteenth century, with the construction of the first measured ski jump and the development of the first effective ski bindings. Ski carnivals with competitions were held in Norway around this time, with the nordic combined event as the premier attraction and display of athletic prowess. No separate cross-country and/or jumping competitions were held. Separate cross-country skiing and jumping events were not held until the beginning of the twentieth century. Predictably, greater specialization of skills developed, and spectators began to show more interest in the separate events where competitors showed greater skill in the two different disciplines.

Still, the grueling combined sport did not disappear, and was included on the inaugural 1924 Olympic Winter Games program.