In order to save the future of Nordic combined and to make the sport more popular with spectators, the world association has developed a new concept that also includes a new form of competition. Superstar Jarl Magnus Riiber sharply criticizes this new discipline – before it is even clear whether it will be part of the World Cup calendar.
May 5th could become a decisive date for Nordic Combined. That Friday, at its meeting in Dubrovnik, the FIS will decide on measures that are intended to guarantee the sport’s continued existence in the long term. Some proposals are already on the table. One of them includes a new form of competition, the so-called “Individual Compact” race.
In the new discipline, the results of ski jumping are devalued in a certain way, because no matter how big the advantage of the first over the second is, he starts the run with a lead of only six seconds. The third-placed jumper goes twelve seconds later than the best jumper, the rest of the field also follows at six-second intervals. All runners should be on the course within one and a half minutes and there they should fight a hard-fought race.
NoKo Dominator Jarl Magnus Riiber is very critical of this new concept. He spoke to the TV broadcaster “NRK” about a “hopeless” idea that does not reward the qualities of the good ski jumpers. “A combination should be a combination. The best jumper and best bishop should win in the end. If you introduce this rule, the race will be rigged before the run,” he fretted at the suggestion.
According to Riiber, jumping in this form of competition would no longer make any sense. “It doesn’t matter whether you jump well or badly,” he judged.
IOC puts the Nordic Combined under pressure
FIS race director Lasse Ottesen sees the situation a little differently. He defended the proposal, stressing that the sport must “renew itself” to continue receiving an Olympic guarantee from the IOC. The Olympic survival of the combination is considered endangered. As of today, the women in Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo 2026 are no longer allowed to start. The big concern is that the men will also lose their place four years later.
At the same time, Ottesen explained that the new competition format should only take place three to four times per season. In the other races, the familiar mode will be retained. “Athletes jump better and run faster. We have to keep up with these developments. That’s one of the reasons why we are discussing new formats,” he said.