Aerials mixed team and freeski big air to be included in Beijing 2022 Olympic programme
Today the IOC Executive Board meeting in Lausanne (SUI) has announced that seven new competitions will join the Winter Olympic programme for Beijing 2022, five of which are in the FIS disciplines.
The new FIS competitions confirmed to join the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games are:
- Ski Jumping - mixed team
- Freestyle Skiing - mixed team aerials
- Freeski - big air (men’s and ladies’)
- Snowboard - mixed team snowboard cross
The addition of men’s and ladies’ Freeski big air competitions to the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games programme comes hot on the heels of the thrilling debut of Snowboard big air events at the PyeongChang 2018 Games. With the Snowboard competitions at PyeongChang 2018 immediately proving to be huge draws and instant fan favourite events, it was only a matter of time before their Freeski counterparts would also get the nod from the IOC.
Big air made its debut on the World Cup stage in dramatic fashion in the 2015/16 season with a spectacular competition at the Fenway Park baseball stadium in Boston (USA). The following season big air became a ‘true’ World Cup tour, with five competitions on the programme and the presentation of men’s and ladies’ crystal globes to the top athletes at season’s end.
Highlights from the men's big air competition staged in Moenchengladbach (GER) in December 2017.
Featuring competitors performing their best tricks on an oversized jump, big air is easily one of the most spectacular of all the FIS competitions. Featuring what is typically a two-jump qualification round to narrow the field followed by a three-jump finals where the best two jumps are counted towards a cumulative score, big air competition is the definitive display of Freeski jumping prowess.
And, with four of the five competitions on the 2018/19 big air World Cup circuit slated to be held in metropolitan centres across Europe and North America (a trend that is set to continue through future seasons), big air continues to be one of the most original and accessible events for public viewing in skiing.
Like big air, the aerials mixed team competition also made its World Cup debut with a spectacular stadium competition, as the first event took place in Beijing’s Bird’s Nest Olympic stadium early in the 2014/15 season.
The aerials team competition was a ‘mixed’ event from the outset, with teams of three athletes featuring at least one men’s and at least one ladies’ competitor squaring off against each other to earn the highest cumulative score.
Video clip from the aerials team event staged in Secret Garden (CHN) back in December 2017.
In World Cup competition the mixed team event featured a qualification round to narrow the field, followed by a first round of finals to further pare things down, and finally a super final event featuring the top handful of teams taking one final jump per competitor in an effort to earn victory.
The creation of a team format in what has for its nearly 40-year history been a highly individual sport immediately brought new life to the aerials World Cup in 2014/15, and the decision from the outset to feature teams of mixed gender was a forward-thinking one. Now, with the competition’s inclusion in the Beijing 2022 Olympic programme, the exciting format will be on display for the world to see in just a few years’ time.
For more information check out the official IOC announcement.