The 2026 Winter Games could be the last Olympic appearance for the Nordic Combined athletes. The IOC refuses women admission to the Milan and Cortina programme.

The Nordic Combined women will not get a place at the 2026 Winter Games in Milan and Cortina. The head of the International Olympic Committee decided against including a women’s competition in the sport.

In addition, the IOC fundamentally questioned the Olympic future of Nordic combined. Inclusion in the program for the 2030 Winter Games depends on a significant further development in the diversity of the participants and in the interest of the spectators.

“Outside of Europe, no one practices this sport”

“In my opinion, the signs against sport, against traditional sports, are what I think the Olympic Games are all about,” said three-time Olympic champion Eric Frenzel. He fears for the Olympic future of his sport. “Because if no women can be there in 2030, then I don’t believe that men’s Nordic combined will continue to find a place in the IOC for the future,” explained Frenzel.

For women, there are currently only athletes from ten nations, the IOC noted. “Outside of Europe, nobody does this sport,” said IOC official Karl Stoss. Combined will thus be the only sport in Milan and Cortina in which only men compete. She was “definitely sad and disappointed,” said combiner Jenny Nowak.

“I think I can speak for everyone: we will take that as motivation and show the IOC that we are definitely ready for the Olympic Games. We will keep fighting,” added Nowak. The women have been contesting World Cup competitions since 2020, and World Championship medals were awarded for the first time in 2021. In 2023 there should also be a mixed team competition at the World Cup.

But that was not enough for the IOC. Rather, the ring circle was “very worried” about the situation in Nordic combined. The IOC only kept the men’s competitions in the 2026 program because the athletes have been working towards these games for years.

Ski mountaineering as a new Olympic sport

Women’s competitions in the toboggan doubles and in ski jumping from the large hill were newly added. “I think the IOC’s decision is great, because it gives many young athletes the chance to win two Olympic medals and they don’t just have to focus on their individual careers,” said doubles luger Jessia Degenhardt from Altenberg. National coach Norbert Loch was also pleased. It is a challenge “to further advance this discipline,” said Loch.

In addition, the IOC confirmed ski mountaineering as a new Olympic sport with three competitions. In addition, there will also be a skeleton mixed and mogul competitions for freestyle skiers in Milan and Cortina. According to the IOC, 47 percent of the Olympians at the games in Italy will be women – a record.