“Just go fast:” New events the 2022 Winter Olympics has to offer


Art by Ellanor Splinter

Jane Porter

In preparation for the 23rd annual Winter Olympics, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has decided to add 7 new events, resulting in a total of 109 events for the 2022 games in Beijing. This is a dramatic increase compared to the 1992 Winter Olympics, which consisted of  57 events. These new events are variations of current events under the skiing, snowboarding, and bobsled categories. Since many will be incorporating mixed-gendered teams, the IOC has created a groundbreaking gender balance of 45% female athletes and 55% male athletes. 

The IOC has added three variations to already existing skiing events, all of which incorporate more opportunities for female athletes to participate. There has always been somewhat of a gender imbalance in favor of male athletes’ events, but with these new events, female athletes will continue to gain similar amounts of possibilities to display their expertise. 

First, there is a new event in freeskiing referred to as big air skiing. In big air, the athlete must jump off a hill, then do multiple impressive flips or tricks in the air. Athletes are given three attempts, and their score is derived from their best two attempts which contain unique and difficult tricks, as well as a successful landing. 

Already very popular in the X Games, the 2022 Winter Olympics will be incorporating a big air event for men and women respectively. Freeski star Eileen Gu, who will be competing for China, although being born in San Francisco, is favored to win all freeskiing golds, including big air. 

Along with big air, there will be a mixed event added for aerial skiing. In aerial skiing, athletes must go off a similar jump that will propel them into the air where they are expected to perform flips and twists then land within a 30-meter length landing area. They are scored on their jump form, the difficulty of their tricks, and their landing.

This event is groundbreaking, having been done only by individuals up until the addition of the event. Also, the fact that the event is starting out immediately with mixed teams shows how highly the IOC is prioritizing giving opportunities to all genders and creating possibilities for female athletes to excel at their sport. 

The last event being added to skiing is mixed ski jumping. Although ski jumping has existed for quite a while as an opportunity for male skiers in the Olympics, it was only recently that a women’s event was added. This addition of mixed teams further opens ski jumping to female athletes. 

There does not seem to be any crowd favorites for this event, though according to CBS Olympics, Team USA leads as the favored team for the upcoming Olympics with Canada closely following behind. 

In the world of snowboarding, there will be the addition of mixed teams under the event of snowboard cross. Snowboard cross works like this: there are two teammates per team. The event begins with one round of athletes racing down a course while their second teammates wait behind a gate at the start of the course. Once the team member that went first finishes the course, the second teammate’s gate will open. The winner is determined by whichever athlete from the second round finishes first. 

The event added this year allows for mixed teams to participate, restructuring the event so that the male athletes go first, and the female athletes go second, therefore scores are determined by whichever female athlete finishes first. 

2021 World Champion Belle Brockhoff shared to Olympics.com that mixed snowboarding is so different from individual snowboarding events because you have to adjust to your fellow teammates and consider what would be best for both teammates. “You kind of share the responsibility. As an individual, if you screw up, it’s your fault completely. But with the team event you kind of share that responsibility a bit more,” she explains. 

Belle Brockhoff and teammate Jarryd Hughes, who will be representing Australia in the 2022 Olympics, are highly favored to win gold in the mixed snowboard cross. However, Lorenzo Sommariva and Michela Moili, who will represent Italy, are going to be tough competition, as they are also heavily favored for gold.  

There have been other miscellaneous events added such as women’s monobob and mixed team short track relay. Women’s events have existed in the bobsledding category since about 1999. However, monobob differs in two significant ways: it is completely individual and all competitors have the same sleds. 

Because of the fact that all competitors have the same sled, this event allows for the Olympics to truly determine the best athletes, rather than the team with the best technology or equipment. “We can see who is the top of the top,” said Canadian monobob athlete Cynthia Appiah in an interview with Olympics.com

She further shared that competing individually is much less pressure and allows you to entirely focus on yourself when competing. 

With mixed short track relay, it’s basically a relay on ice. There are four skaters, and since it’s a mixed event, there are two women and two men. Each woman does two-and-a-half laps around the track where they then exchange with one of their teammates. Then the men do the same and repeat the sequence, but with 2 laps respectively. It adds up to 2000 meters in total. 

“There is no special tactic. It’s just that you go as fast as you can,” said three-time Russian short-track speed skater champion, Sofia Prosvirnova, in an interview with Olympics.com