IOC: Women not in Nordic Combined but in Luge, Skeleton

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Friday announced in a live press conference that it’s decided to uphold its continuation of men contesting Nordic Combined in the Olympic Programme for Milan-Cortina 2026. However, the much-anticipated decision to add a women’s event disappointed supporters of gender equality in sports around the globe. 

“Inclusion of Nordic Combined in the Olympic Winter Programme in 2030 depends on a significant positive development particularly with regards to participation and audience,” the IOC said.

Park City Ski and Snowboard athlete June Maxwell, 13, has been a Nordic Combined skier since she was eight. She told me, “I tell everyone that they won’t see me in the Olympics because my sport isn’t in the Olympics yet.” 

Much to the delight of Bobsleigh/Skeleton racing, a Skeleton Mixed Team event has been added to the 2026 Games as well as the addition of a Womens Doubles Luge event. Carl Roepke, having announcing nine Olympic events, is one of the few voices that can speak to both luge and skeleton. He told me, “The more equality in elite sports, the better.”

Alpine skiing lost its Mixed Team Parallel events, but Freestyle got added a Womens Dual Slalom event.

The sport of Ski Jumping did, however, have an event added to the 2026 Olympics awarding Women the opportunity to jump the Large Hill where up until Friday, they jumped only the smaller Normal Hill at the Olympic level. Alan Alborn works at the Utah Olympic Park and after retiring as a three-time USA Olympic Ski Jumper coached USA Womens Ski Jumping for two Olympics. He told me, “It’s fantastic news that the IOC is adding the Large Hill for the Women to jump. Not only does that decision reflect the trend of growing numbers of younger female athletes joining the sport, it shows what an exciting event it is, regarding it’s athleticism, finesse and strength, for men and women to spectate all over the world.” Park City athlete Paige Jones, who ski jumps for USA Nordic, expressed her excitement on social media.

“We try to balance fairness and inclusivity and these are very very difficult decisions,” the IOC said in a press conference.

“There are only 10 nations participating and only one on the podium,” they said about the one Women’s Nordic Combined World Championships held thus far.

The IOC will discuss the possibility of Olympic Women’s Nordic Combined further with International Ski Federation(FIS) for plans for 2030.

The press conference addressed the real or perceived tenuous-nature of the overall status of Mens Nordic Combined. It cited that the main argument to keep it in the Olympics at this juncture is that it’s so relatively close to the Milan-Cortina Games, in merely three years, that it would be unfair to the men already in an Olympic-cycle training trajectory.

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