Eight Olympic Events Debuting in Sochi

Eight new events in the winter Olympics? Yes, there are eight new competitions that have never been in the Games, but there are not eight new sports. For example, women’s ski jump is new, although it is the same sport as men’s ski jump. There are now enough competitive female ski jumpers to make it worthwhile. And there will be a team medal for figure skating, which will make it more like the gymnastics competition of the Summer Games. Men's, women's, and pairs figure skaters and ice dancers will skate an additional round to win points for their nation's skating team. But there are some brand-new sports we will see at Sochi, such as halfpipe skiing.  

Like their snowboarding brethren before them, half-pipe skiers will now get to show the world the kind of twisting mid-air moves that can be pulled off on a vert ramp. Though the tricks are similar, skiers can use their equipment to better maintain speed and launch higher than what’s doable with a snowboard. This allows the most skilled athletes to execute a greater number of tricks in each jump. Competitors often practice on half-pipes equipped with airbags to cushion bad falls.

Read also about slopestyle skiing and the new luge and biathlon team relays and more at Smithsonian.

(Image credit: Tsutomu Takasu)

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