The FIS Congress in Costa Navarino had many forward-looking meetings. The Nordic Combined Committee was no exception to this and, confirmed by the FIS Council and the FIS Congress, made several major decisions especially concerning the female athletes of the discipline:
From 2019, the ladies will be part of the official FIS Junior World Championship program with an inaugural 1 jump, 5 km Individual Gundersen competition taking place at the Junior World Championships in Lahti (FIN) in January 2019.
At the same time, the FIS Congress approved the inclusion of a Nordic Combined Ladies’ event in the World Championship program from Oberstdorf 2021 on, so that the females of the discipline can now plan for their first medal events on junior and senior level.
Race Director Lasse Ottesen also presented the calendar for the second Ladies’ Continental Cup season, which not only includes one inaugural Summer Grand Prix event for ladies in Oberwiesenthal in August 2018 but also a record-breaking 12 events at five different venues in the USA, Estonia, Norway and Russia.
In addition, ladies can also compete at six Youth Cup events in Oberstdorf, Harrachov and Knyken. All Alpencup ladies events remain open to athletes from all countries as well.
On the men’s side, the Committee made two major decisions, all about tweaking and fine-tuning existing competition formats:
The Mass Start will make its comeback on a World Cup level but will be included exclusively in the Ruka / Lillehammer Tour program at the season start for now. The athletes will compete in a 1 jump, 5 km Individual Gundersen event first, followed by a Mass Start in which the top 50 racers are qualified to take part in the final ski jumping round. The wind and gate system as well as full judging of the jump will be in place.
The Team Event received an update with the purpose of making the events tighter and more action packed: The average score of the four jumps will be taken to calculate the cross-country time differences and the metre value set to 15 points per minute. The cross-country distance will be reduced to 15 kilometres, divided into four stages of 5 km, 2.5 km, 2.5 km and a concluding 5 km leg. This concept is going to be tested in the Continental Cup in the upcoming season before any definitive decision about a final rule change will be made.
Regarding the World Cup calendar, a few changes have occurred since the Spring Meetings in Zürich:
After deliberating a weekend in December, Trondheim finally decided to return to their customary mid-week spot in March. A final confirmation for a World Cup venue in Japan will follow until the 5th of June.
The men’s Continental Cup calendar features 20 events in eight venues, four of them shared with the ladies. The calendar will take the athletes to Park City (USA), Steamboat Springs (USA), Klingenthal (GER), Ruka (FIN), Planica (SLO), Rena (NOR), Eisenerz (AUT) and Nizhny Tagil (RUS) and feature two two tests of the revised Team Event and a Final Individual Gundersen in Nizhny Tagil.