Seven of 109 medal events at the 2022 Winter Games will make their debut, including several mixed-team events — a recent Olympic trend. Here’s a look at what’s new in Beijing.
MEN/WOMEN’S FREESKI ‘BIG AIR’
Big air snowboarding debuted at Pyeongchang in 2018, opening the door for both men and women freeskiers to take part at these COVID delayed Winter Games. Freeski Big Air rose to popularity in the Winter X Games, using a format that’s similar to big air snowboarding with a course that includes one large jump. Competitors have three attempts to do their best tricks in the final, with their two best counting toward the total score. Each attempt must feature a different trick.
Aerials have been mostly individual competitions, but Beijing introduces a team event. Each team includes three athletes, with at least one woman and one man required. Scores from all three are compiled to arrive at a team score, as competition continues over multiple rounds.
MIXED-TEAM SHORT TRACK RELAY
The Winter Olympics schedule already features men’s 5000-meter and women’s 3000-meter relays. Two men and two women from each country take part in this new relay. Women go first for two-and-a-half laps each, followed by the men for another two-anda-half. Then the women and men both compete over two more additional laps, for a total of 2000 meters. Should an athlete fall, only a teammate of the same gender may take over to finish that leg.
MIXED-TEAM SKI JUMPING
Ski jumping, which became a men’s Olympic team event in 1988, is now joined by a mixed-team event that finds the group jumping in the order of woman, man, woman and then man. All individual scores are then added together to arrive at a team score.
This sounds like what it is, a one-female version of traditional multi-person bobsledding events. Every athlete will be responsible for pushing and then piloting the sled over the course. This event requires that all competitors use identical sleds, unlike team-focused bobsledding which relies heavily on individual designs aimed at improving aerodynamics.
MIXED-TEAM SNOWBOARD CROSS
One male and one female are paired together from each participating country in this new snowboard cross event. Men race first and as they cross the finish line, a staggered start is created when the starting gate opens for their teammate. Women then complete the race. Mick Dierdorff and Lindsey Jacobellis won the first-ever world title for America in the 2019 event debut.