The Winter Olympics may not include the first Nordic combined | WGN Radio 720

The Nordic combined, which independently tests skiers on stunning jumps and throbbing trails, has been part of the Winter Olympics since 1924. That time may be just around the corner.

This is the only Olympic sport without women, and the International Olympic Committee will decide later this month whether to allow women to compete in the Nordic combined competition at the 2026 Milan-Cortina d’Ampezzo Games.

However, according to athletes and supporters, Nordic combined could drop out of the Olympics altogether.

“I’ve heard clearly on the back channel that the solution to the dirty secret of gender equality is to remove men from the program in 2026,” said Billy, a five-time Nordic combined Olympic athlete. Demon said. USA Nordic Board of Directors. “It’s tragic, short-sighted, and misguided to rob one of the original sports from the first Winter Olympics.”

The IOC said the final decision on the 2026 Olympic program for the medal event will be decided at a meeting of the Board of Directors chaired by President Thomas Bach on June 24th.

“We’ve heard that with the addition of sports such as ski climbing, the IOC doesn’t want to increase the number of athletes. The solution is to eliminate men from the Nordic combined,” Demong said on Tuesday with the Associated Press. I mentioned in the interview.

Men in Nordic combined are publicly promoting women’s participation on social media and elsewhere, adding a mixed team format as another Olympic medal event and are now preparing for their future as athletes on the world stage. increase.

Jasper Good, who entered the United States at the Beijing Olympics earlier this year, said he was “blind” to that possibility.

“Information from athlete groups and national governing bodies around the world is flowing to us. Most of us were unaware that sports were at stake,” he said. ..

Lasse Ottesen, Nordic combined race director of the International Ski Federation, said he had never officially heard from the IOC about men who could be excluded from the Olympic program.

“We are listening to speculation from many sides,” Ottesen said Wednesday. “What happens to men if the IOC decides not to include women in the 26-year event for some reason? Is that a kind of signal that you are attending the ’26 event? But in the case of ’30, we are thinking about gender equality, and then men are out. “

Nordic combined skiers need to be familiar with ski jumping and fearless during training to gain the strength and stamina needed for a 10km cross-country course. The athlete who wins the ski jump stage will start a cross-country race in front of the puck, then start the rest of the competition in the order of finish and race for the gold medal.

Nordic combined is a fringe sport in the United States, but it is very popular in Europe and parts of Japan.

“It’s really big in countries like Norway, Germany and Austria,” said Jared Shumate, Nordic combined skier at the US Olympics. “These three countries usually dominate the World Cup podium and the Olympic podium. And, obviously, we don’t have exactly the same fame.”

Annika Malacinski is one of dozens of women around the world who have sacrificed a lot of time and money to win the Olympic gold medal. She has dual citizenship of the United States and Finland, and 21-year-old Marasinsky, who is competing for the United States, had high expectations for competition in China in 2018.

The IOC Executive Board considers the application rejected, allowing her and other women to participate in the Nordic combined competition at the Beijing Olympics. Kit McConnell, IOC Sports Director, said development in terms of universality, competitiveness and follow-up is needed.

During the 2022 season, nearly 40 women competed at the highest levels of sport, following the World Cup debut season a year ago.

“There is no reason not to compete in the Olympics,” said Idamarie Hagen of Norway, who finished second in the World Cup. “The level is high. There are many athletes from different continents.”

The IOC is proud to point out the improvements made towards gender equality, saying the Beijing Olympics have put a new mark on women’s competitors by increasing participation from 41% to 45% in 2018. think. As a competing man.

Alas, the Olympic Instagram post points out that the reaction to include women in the Nordic combined led to the next round.

“It’s going to be very intense, especially if the decision is only a week away,” Marasinsky told AP.


Contributed by Graham Dunbar, an AP sports writer in Geneva.


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The Winter Olympics may not include the first Nordic combined | WGN Radio 720

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