12 Events That Will Debut at This Year's Olympics
By Rudie Obias
1. Figure Skating Team Event (Mixed)
Teams are made up of six figure skaters in total—one male, one female, one pair, and ice dance couple—and over the course of three days, each squad is awarded points based on technical and presentation merit of each routine. The team with the highest aggregated score wins the Gold Medal. Ten teams will compete in the Figure Skating Team Event, including Canada, Russia, Japan, and the United States.
2. Biathlon Mixed Relay
Teams consist of four members, two males and two females. Each event starts with the two female biathletes skiing a six-kilometer leg, after which the two male competitors ski a 7.5-kilometer leg in an overall relay race. All biathletes are required to shoot five targets in two bouts—one prone and one standing—and if a competitor misses a target, they have to perform a 150-meter penalty loop for every target missed. The mixed relay team with the fastest combined time wins the event.
3. and 4. Ski Half-Pipe (Men’s and Women’s)
For the first time ever, skiers get to try their hand on the Olympic halfpipe, an event previously available only for snowboarders. In two separate events, 30 men and 24 women compete in two runs in two phases—one qualification and one final—where the top 12 skiers advance to the final round. Athletes are judged on technical execution, amplitude, variety, and difficulty.
5. and 6. Snowboard Slopestyle (Men’s and Women’s)
The Snowboard Slopestyle events include 30 male and 24 female snowboarders who descend a 655m course that is made up of a vertical drop, three rails, and three jumps. Each individual athlete must complete the course performing various tricks in two runs with three phases—qualification, semi-final, and final. The competitors are judged on an overall impression of tricks including variety, execution, amplitude, difficulty, and landing. The highest scoring run for each event wins through to the final.
7. Women’s Ski Jump
For the first time in the Winter Olympics' 90-year history, women get to propel themselves off the Ski Jump, too. The best score is taken out of two runs with each skier being judged for distance and style based on a jump from a 106-meter (347.7 foot) hill. Each skier starts with 60 points with two additional points awarded for every meter jumped over 95 meters, while two points are deducted for every meter jumped under that mark. The Gold Medal is awarded to the highest final score.
8. and 9. Snowboard Parallel Slalom (Men’s and Women’s)
In two separate events, snowboarders go head-to-head in a winner-takes-all tournament. Two snowboarders race each other down a 320-meter course in two qualifying runs. The loser of the first run must start the second run with a time disadvantage based on the time lost during the first run. The first snowboarder to cross the finish line on the second run wins. The Men’s and Women’s Snowboard Parallel Slalom both feature 32 boarders with the first round consisting of 16 head-to-head races.
10. and 11. Ski Slopestyle (Men’s and Women’s)
The Men’s and Women’s Ski Slopestyle features 30 men and 24 women freestyle skiing in two runs over two phases where the best of the runs is counted. The judges take the best score of the top 12 skiers to advance after they ski down a 565-meter course consisting of a vertical drop, three rails, and three jumps. Points are awarded for execution, style, variety, difficulty, risk, and progression. The highest scoring run during the final phase wins.
12. Luge Team Relay (Mixed)
Teams consist of four members in total—men’s single, women’s single, and double (two male, two female, or mixed). Each team must complete a 1384-meter course with a vertical drop and 16 curves in any combination of the three sleds in one run. Athletes must hit a touch-sensitive pad to open their teammate's gate during the relay race. The team with the fastest combined time wins the Gold Medal. Thirteen nations will compete in this event during the XXII Olympic Winter Games.