Great news for ski and snowboard enthusiasts – there will be 4 new ski and snowboard events added to the next Winter Olympics in Beijing. This includes Ski Big Air, after the success of Snowboard Big Air at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games.
With Great Britain already home to a host of world class freestyle skiers competing successfully in Big Air events at World Cups and X-Games, there is the realistic proposition of Team GB vying for more freestyle skiing medals in four years’ time. “Big Air was such a success for the snowboarders – and particularly for Team GB with Billy Morgan’s medal in PyeongChang – so it’s not a huge surprise to see it included in the freestyle skiing programme but it’s certainly great news to have it confirmed,” said Dan Hunt, British Ski & Snowboard’s Performance Director. “[James] Woodsy [Woods] has won X-Games gold in Big Air while Katie Summerhayes, Izzy Atkin and Madi Rowlands have all placed in the top 10 at World Cup level so we already have some genuine talent in the field and there’s more coming through the ranks via the Park & Pipe pathway.”
For 2022 the IOC has put Gender Equality as one of the key principles of the Winter Games and is taking a significant step in achieving the 50% gender balance for both athletes and events. They aim to achieve significant improvement on overall gender balance by increasing women’s and mixed events. Beijing 2022 will be the most gender-balanced Olympic Winter Games to date.
- With 1314 women competing this will be the highest number of women to have ever competed at the Olympic Winter Games.
- With 46 women’s events this will be the highest number of women’s events ever held at the Olympic Winter Games.
- At 45.44% gender balance this will be the highest overall gender balance at the Olympic Winter Games (previously 41%).
The 7 new events added to the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing 2022 are:
- Women’s Monobob (Bobsleigh)
- Short Track Mixed Team Relay (Skating)
- Ski Jumping Mixed Team (Skiing)
- Aerials Mixed Team (Skiing)
- Big Air Skiing – Women & Men (Skiing)
- Snowboard Cross Mixed Team (Snowboarding)
IOC Sports Director Kit McConnell said: "The addition of these new events for Beijing 2022 reflects our continued commitment to make the Olympic Games programmes more youthful and gender balanced. I am very pleased to see the increase of female athletes, especially in such exciting, ground-breaking events. At the same time, we are sending a message that the size of the Olympic Winter Games is being directly addressed."
It’s not all good news… There has been a reduction of 41 athletes to accommodate the changes. This includes:
- Biathlon – reduction of 20 athletes
- Luge – reduction of 4 athletes
- Skating – reduction of 26 athletes
- Skiing – reduction of 41 athletes
James 'Woodsy' Woods, Freestyle skier - Photo credit: Tommy Pyatt