The first test events with a new Nordic Combined format took place successfully on 25th- 26th July in Hinterzarten and on 28th-29th in Oberstdorf (both GER). For the first time in the history of this Olympic discipline, the Nordic Combined athletes competed on the day before the official competition in a jumping qualification round and carried out their competition with only one jump and an inline skate race (with ski poles) of approx. 15 km (which takes about the same time as a 10 km Cross-Country race).
In Hinterzarten, 53 competitors found good conditions on the jumping venue “Adlerschanze”. With a great jump of 106 m, the young Austrian athlete David Zauner took the lead after the first part of the Nordic Combined competition.
After a short postponement of the Inline skate competition due to a thunderstorm, Zauner went into the Inline race over 7 x 2,3 km in the center of Hinterzarten with an advantage of 8 seconds to his first chaser of the now reduced field of 40 competitors. Soon several big groups were built and the race tactics started, cheered by over 4000 spectators on the course. At the end, the 2006 Olympic champion and native from the Black Forest, Georg Hettich (GER) attacked on the last 100 meters and claimed victory 1.3 seconds ahead of Bill Demong (USA) and David Kreiner (AUT).
The test event in Oberstdorf, the host city of the 2005 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships, took place under sunny but windy weather. On Tuesday, the conditions to make a fair and safe jumping competition were not given due to gusts and the new rule that the qualification round counts for the competition jump and is the base for the starting order in the inline skate race was activated. In front of a big crowd, Anssi Koivuranta (FIN) started first on the challenging in line course in Oberstdorf. After an exciting race, the Austrian Mario Stecher claimed victory in the finish sprint, 0,5 seconds ahead of the both Finnish athletes Jaakko Tallus and Anssi Koivuranta.
The overall ranking of the 2008 FIS Grand Prix Nordic Combined is led by Mario Stecher, four points ahead of the winner from Hinterzarten, Georg Hettich.
The next and last competition of the test event series, the 2008 FIS Grand Prix Nordic Combined, will take place on Friday, 1st in Einsiedeln (SUI) in combination with the FIS Grand Prix Ski Jumping.