Heading into the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, nordic combined is the answer to an interesting trivia question. What is the only sport at the Olympic Winter Games competed only by men? Nordic combined, which encompasses ski jumping and cross-country skiing, has been on the Olympic stage since the 1924 Olympic Winter Games in Chamonix, and has been dominated all-time by Norway, which has won 13 gold medals and 30 medals overall.
The United States have won four medals in nordic combined, with all of them coming at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. Bill Demong won the gold medal in the men's 10 km individual large hill, Johnny Spillane won two silver medals (10 km individual large hill and 10 km individual normal hill), and then Demong and Spillane teamed up with Brett Camerota and Todd Lodwick to win silver in the team competition.
Interestingly, Spillane was one of three Americans to win three medals at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. He was joined by alpine skier Bode Miller and short track speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno.
The United States will have an Olympic team of four nordic combined athletes at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang. They include brothers Taylor and Bryan Fletcher, Jasper Good and Ben Loomis. Bryan Fletcher, a leukemia survivor, is 29th in the World Cup standings. He has two World Cup podiums on his resume including a gold medal in Oslo on March 10, 2012. Taylor Fletcher also has two individual World Cup bronze medals in his career including a third place finish in Sapporo in 2015.
At the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, expect Germany to do extremely well. The Germans are the reigning world champions in the team competition, Johannes Rydzek is the reigning world champion in the large hill and won both World Cups last year in Pyeongchang. Eric Frenzel was the World Cup champion in the large hill and normal hill in 2017, while Fabian Riessle is the World Cup leader on the normal hill.
Here are my Olympic predictions in nordic combined:
Large Hill Ski Jumping/10 km Cross Country Skiing:
Event: Feb. 20-- Large Hill Ski Jumping @ 5 am ET/2 am PT; 10 km Cross Country Skiing @ 7:45 am ET/4:45 am PT
Normal Hill Ski Jumping/10 km Cross Country Skiing:
Event: Feb. 14--Normal Hill Ski Jumping @ 1 am ET/10 pm PT (Feb. 13); 10 km Cross Country Skiing @ 3:45 am ET/12:45 am PT
Team Nordic Combined:
Event: Feb. 22--Large Hill Ski Jumping @ 2:30 am ET/11:30 pm PT (Feb. 21); 4x5 km Cross Country Skiing @ 5 am ET/2 am PT