As we have seen with all the other "Experience
personified"-athletes: huge success can also
come to you at the ripe old age of over 30 in Nordic
Combined and an athlete who fits this description
extraordinarily well is Japan's Hideaki Nagai. He
has been a Nordic Combined athlete on a national
level since 1996 but only found his way into the
Japanese World Cup team in 2012 by winning a national
competition, qualifying for Continental Cup and
instantly getting points there. "An interesting
guy", head coach Takanori Kohno sums up. The
31-year-old tackled the usual "Experience personified"-questions
from his unique perspective.
Hideaki Nagai at age 15
What would you says is the main difference between
Nordic Combined when you started with it and Nordic
Combined as it is today?
When I started with Nordic Combined, there were
not many athletes who were really strong both in
jumping and in cross-country. Today, you have to
perform on an unbelievably high level in both disciplines
to achieve good World Cup results. On top of that,
there is way less difference between the athletes
after the jumping event and the races are very tight.
How do you view the development of the sport these
days, especially in regards to Ladies Nordic Combined?
I think the competitions of Nordic Combined have
gotten more interesting and easier to understand
for the spectators by the changes which were made
in regards to the formats and rules and also by
the development of the athletes.
It will probably take a while until Ladies Nordic
Combined is accepted by the people and has a standardised
form but generally speaking it will lead to an increase
in the interest of the media and the spectators.
It's a very positive thing.
If you had one wish for the future of Nordic Combined,
what would it be?
I hope that Nordic Combined will stay beloved by
many people, competitions will stay interesting
and exciting and I will be able to watch it on TV
as an old man.
Something you have always wanted to say in an interview?
Life's gonna be all right!
Do you have any plans for after your active career?
I don't have any detailed plans yet but I would
like to support athletes and young people with my
This picture shows me age 15 at the national Junior
High School Championships of the prefecture Ishikawa.
I won this competition.
Hideaki Nagai Facts
Favourite venue: Val di Fiemme is not really my
favourite venue but a very meaningful place for
me as I had my first World Cup start there and managed
to get my first World Cup points. As a second venue
to name, Oslo is always something special, it's
about the long tradition there. It's the holy place
of the Nordic disciplines.
Favourite format: I think the mass start is cool.
Usually, we are having our decisions in the cross-country
races but the mass start has the decision in the
ski jumping part as in special jumping. I like that.
World Cup starts: 33
I don't even know if I am a good person for "Experience
personified because yes, I am over 30 years old
and yes, I am an old athlete but I only have a fixed
spot on the World Cup team since 2012 (laughs)
First FIS competition: 1999
First World Cup start: 03.02.2012 in Val di Fiemme
World Championship starts: 3
Olympic Games starts: 3