Preview: After Vancouver, can U.S. meet higher expectations in Nordic combined?


Today – Normal hill ski jumping + 10k cross-country skiing: Jumping from 4:30-5:20 a.m. ET, skiing from 7:30-8:15 a.m. ET.
Feb. 18 – Large hill + 10k: Jumping from 4:30-5:20 a.m. ET, skiing from 7-7:45 a.m. ET.
Feb. 20 – Team large hill + 4x5km relay; Jumping from 3-3:50 a.m. ET, skiing from 6-7:15 a.m. ET.

Today – 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN
Feb. 18 – 10 a.m. – 12 Noon ET, NBCSN (also on NBC’s daytime coverage starting at 3 p.m. ET)
Feb. 20 – 3-7 a.m. ET, LIVE on NBCSN (also on NBC’s late night coverage on Feb. 21 at 1 a.m. ET)

Vancouver 2010 saw the Americans break through for four medals, including a gold in the large hill for Bill Demong (pictured). He and six-time Olympian Todd Lodwick are strong veteran leaders, but Lodwick’s making his way back from a January crash that saw him dislocate a shoulder. That means the twenty-something Fletcher brothers, Bryan and Taylor, need to deliver.

In regards to individual events, they all must be on form particularly in the jumping aspect to stay in contention. The team event is where they’ll stand the best shot for medals.

American-born French competitor Jason Lamy-Chappuis is looking to become the third Olympic Nordic combined competitor to defend a title (John Grottumsbraten, NOR, 1928/1932; Ulrich Wehling, GDR, 1972/1976/1980). Since winning the normal hill gold in Vancouver, he’s been a powerful force in the sport with three consecutive World Cup titles (2010-12) and a 2013 NH world championship.

Germany’s Eric Frenzel is another contender; he beat Lamy-Chappuis for the 2012-13 World Cup and is the 2013 world champ in the large hill. Team-wise, Austria is strong across the board, but Germany, France and Norway will be in the mix as well.