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Expectations fuel Nordic combined team’s drive

U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team

■ Brett Camerota

■ Billy Demong

■ Taylor Fletcher

■ Todd Lodwick

■ Johnny Spillane

Nordic combined events

The Nordic combined events at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, British Columbia, will consist of two individual events and a team event spread out during the 17 days of the 2010 Winter Olympics.

The competitions will be slightly different than the ones held in Turin, Italy, in 2006. Those competitions featured a two-jump, 15-kilometer individual event and a one-jump, 7.5-kilometer sprint event. There also was a team event at those Olympics.

The basic idea will remain unchanged in 2010, but the format will be changed slightly to conform to what the athletes see on a weekly basis during the World Cup Tour.

The normal hill individual event is Feb. 14 on the third day of the Olympic Games. Athletes will be scored on one jump using the HS106 at Whistler Olympic Park just north of Vancouver in the morning and will compete in a 10-kilometer cross-country race that afternoon. As in all of the Nordic combined events, the athletes’ performance on the jump hill will determine where they start the cross-country race. Jump points are translated into a time penalty using the Gundersen system.

The Nordic combined skiers’ second event will not take place until Feb. 23, when they compete in the team event. In that competition, teams of four skiers will combine efforts. Each team member will have one jump to count on the HS140 jump, and the team’s combined score will determine the starting position for the 4 X 5-kilometer cross-country race that afternoon. Team members will alternate laps on the cross-country course.

The final Nordic combined event of the 2010 Winter Olympics will take place Feb. 25 on the larger hill at Whistler Park.

Like the first event, athletes will have one jump to count and will battle for medals on a 10-kilometer cross-country race in the afternoon. This time, the jump will take place on the larger HS140 hill.

The Americans will face stiff competition for medals in Vancouver in the individual and team events.

The Americans will no doubt contend for spots in the individual events but will have to top several medal favorites.

France’s Jason Lamy Chappuis is leading the World Cup standings with five World Cup victories. He also has been second twice and third twice. Austria’s Felix Gottwald, who is second in the World Cup standings, also is expected to be in the race for the gold. He only has won one event this season but has been on the podium five times and has three second-place finishes. Other contenders include Norway’s Magnus Moan, who has two World Cup victories, and Germans Tino Edelmann and Eric Frenzel.

Watch for the strong Germans in the team event, as well.