What you need to know about Nordic combined

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Text and captions courtesy of Associated Press

A sport that has its beginnings in the late 1800s when Norwegian soldiers began informal competitions, the event first featured cross-country skiing following by ski jumping, but was reversed in the 1950s. Under the Gundersen Method, which has been used since the Calgary Games in 1988 and is named after its creator, Norway's Gunnar Gundersen, starting places for the cross-country are determined based on the ski jumping results. Once the jumping points are totaled, they are converted into time penalties, and generally, a 10-point lead provides for a one-minute start in the cross-country race. At Sochi, the Nordic combined opens on Feb. 12 at the RusSki Gorki Jumping Centre with the men's individual normal hill and a 10-kilometer cross-country race.

<p>Norway has traditionally been the strongest nation in Nordic combined, having won 11 gold medals, eight silvers and seven bronze in the sport since it was held at the first Olympics in 1924. (Photo of: Mikko Kokslien, Norway)(Photo by Vianney Thibaut/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)</p>
Norway has traditionally been the strongest nation in Nordic combined, having won 11 gold medals, eight silvers and seven bronze in the sport since it was held at the first Olympics in 1924. (Photo of: Mikko Kokslien, Norway)(Photo by Vianney Thibaut/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

Norway has traditionally been the strongest nation in Nordic combined, having won 11 gold medals, eight silvers and seven bronze in the sport since it was held at the first Olympics in 1924. (Photo of: Mikko Kokslien, Norway)(Photo by Vianney Thibaut/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

Christoph Bieler of Austria, front, skis during the individual Gundersen competition at the Nordic Combined FIS World Cup in Oberstdorf, southern Germany, Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014. Bieler placed fourth. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)
Christoph Bieler of Austria, front, skis during the individual Gundersen competition at the Nordic Combined FIS World Cup in Oberstdorf, southern Germany, Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014. Bieler placed fourth
Christoph Bieler of Austria, front, skis during the individual Gundersen competition at the Nordic Combined FIS World Cup in Oberstdorf, southern Germany, Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014. Bieler placed fourth. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)
<p class="MsoNormal"><span>There will be four Americans in the competition, and all are capable of winning medals. Lodwick initially earned his berth by winning the Olympic trials in December, Demong and brothers Taylor Fletcher and Bryan Fletcher, who are cross-country ski specialists. The 37-year old Lodwick will be competing at his sixth Olympics, and finished fourth in the individual 10-kilometer and with a silver medal in the team competition at Vancouver in 2010. Demong won the individual large hill gold, the first by any American in Nordic combined, and the team silver medal. Taylor Fletcher, 23, competed in Vancouver, while brother Bryan, 27, will make his Olympic debut in Russia. </span>( L-R Bryan Fletcher, Todd Lodwick and Bill Demong) (Harry How/Getty Images)</p>
There will be four Americans in the competition, and all are capable of winning medals. Lodwick initially earned his berth by winning the Olympic trials in December, Demong and brothers Taylor Fletcher and Bryan Fletcher, who are cross-country ski specialists. The 37-year old Lodwick will be competing at his sixth Olympics, and finished fourth in the individual 10-kilometer and with a silver medal in the team competition at Vancouver in 2010. Demong won the individual large hill gold, the first by any American in Nordic combined, and the team silver medal. Taylor Fletcher, 23, competed in Vancouver, while brother Bryan, 27, will make his Olympic debut in Russia. ( L-R Bryan Fletcher, Todd Lodwick and Bill Demong) (Harry How/Getty Images)

There will be four Americans in the competition, and all are capable of winning medals. Lodwick initially earned his berth by winning the Olympic trials in December, Demong and brothers Taylor Fletcher and Bryan Fletcher, who are cross-country ski specialists. The 37-year old Lodwick will be competing at his sixth Olympics, and finished fourth in the individual 10-kilometer and with a silver medal in the team competition at Vancouver in 2010. Demong won the individual large hill gold, the first by any American in Nordic combined, and the team silver medal. Taylor Fletcher, 23, competed in Vancouver, while brother Bryan, 27, will make his Olympic debut in Russia. ( L-R Bryan Fletcher, Todd Lodwick and Bill Demong) (Harry How/Getty Images)

Yusuke Minato of Japan soars through the air during the individual Gundersen competition at the Nordic Combined FIS World Cup in Oberstdorf, southern Germany, Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)
Yusuke Minato of Japan soars through the air during the individual Gundersen competition at the Nordic Combined FIS World Cup in Oberstdorf, southern Germany, Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014
Yusuke Minato of Japan soars through the air during the individual Gundersen competition at the Nordic Combined FIS World Cup in Oberstdorf, southern Germany, Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)
Winner Eric Frenzel of Germany skis during the individual Gundersen competition at the Nordic Combined FIS World Cup in Oberstdorf, southern Germany, Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)
Winner Eric Frenzel of Germany skis during the individual Gundersen competition at the Nordic Combined FIS World Cup in Oberstdorf, southern Germany, Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014
Winner Eric Frenzel of Germany skis during the individual Gundersen competition at the Nordic Combined FIS World Cup in Oberstdorf, southern Germany, Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

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