(Reuters) – Alpine skiing combined at the 2026 Winter Olympics will feature two specialists in a team instead of one skier, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said on Tuesday.
Previously, the men’s and women’s combined had an individual skier compete in a downhill or super-G and then a slalom, with the quickest aggregate time determining the winner.
For the Milan-Cortina Games in Italy, the format will involve two skiers of the same gender representing a nation with one specialist taking a downhill run and the other tackling the slalom course.
The International Ski Federation (FIS) said last month that the team combined would be added to the upcoming Alpine World Cup season at a men’s event in Kitzbuhel, Austria.
The individual combined last featured on the World Cup calendar in the 2019-20 season. It had been on the Olympic programme since its return in 1988, having been dropped in 1952 after it was first staged in 1936.
In cross-country skiing, men and women will race the same distances at the Olympics for the first time in 2026, the IOC said, a year after FIS implemented the change for the 2022-23 World Cup.
Olympic team events for Nordic combined and men’s ski jumping will be reduced from four athletes per nation to two, the IOC said.
The Nordic combined team event will change its cross-country skiing format from 4x5km to 2×7.5km.
The sport’s Olympic spot is at risk due to low interest, with the IOC saying last year it had “by far the lowest audience numbers” of the 2022 Beijing Games. It remains the only Winter Olympic discipline where women are not allowed to compete.
(Reporting by Hritika Sharma in Hyderabad; Editing by Alex Richardson)
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