The Nordic combined is fearing for its future before the IOC decision on the inclusion of women in the Olympic programme.
Vinzenz Geiger won gold in Beijing, the team silver in the team competition – but will the German winter sports nation have to plan without Olympic medals from the Nordic combined in future?
The “NoKo” fears for its Olympic future because the IOC decision on the inclusion of women in the Olympic programme could, in the worst case, trigger a chain reaction that is unfavourable for them.
Race Director Lasse Ottesen warns of horror scenario
The vote on 26 June will be “groundbreaking for the further existence of our sport”, says FIS Racing Director Lasse Ottesen to the SID. Further development is “only possible through the integration of women”, otherwise the men are also threatened with extinction.
Background: The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has called for a level playing field for women and men in all sports. The fear: Should the women’s combined not be included for 2026, the balance could be established in another way as early as 2030 – by cancelling the men’s competitions. So far, the combined event has been part of the programme at all Winter Games.
The combined is the only discipline at the Winter Olympics that is not yet gender-balanced. “Thus, the inclusion of women is the last step to achieve equality within the FIS and the Winter Olympics,” says former ski jumper Ottesen – notorious among German winter sports fans of the nineties for his tactical jump delay at the Four Hills Tournament in 1994, which at the time helped compatriot Espen Bredesen to victory over Jens Weißflog.
Yet the women’s combined skiers have already achieved a lot: there has been a World Cup since 2020, and they have been on the World Cup programme since 2021. “The great support of all the national ski federations in recent years has been decisive for the rapid and positive development of our women’s combined athletes,” Ottesen said. The application for inclusion in the programme for the 2022 Olympics had failed.