It was back in July 2018 when the International Olympic Committee approved and announced seven new events for the Winter Games in Beijing. It’s been a four-year wait, but this winter, sports fans will finally get a chance to see the world’s best athletes compete in these new events.
With a record 109 sporting events in total during the 2022 Games, the new sports debuting this year are supporting the IOC’s initiative to give more athletes, women especially, opportunities to bring home the gold.
The seven new sports this year include women’s monobob, men’s and women’s big air skiing, mixed team relay in short-track speed skating, mixed team ski jumping, mixed team snowboard cross and freestyle skiing mixed team aerials.
Here’s what to expect from these new events and when you can watch them at this year’s games.
“Feel the rhythm! Feel the rhyme! Get on up, it’s bobsled time!” or monobob, that is. Unlike in traditional bobsledding (as depicted in the Disney classic “Cool Runnings“), where four or two athletes navigate a massive, state-of-the-art sled down an icy track, monobob is done solo.
Whereas in bobsled, a team can manipulate its team sled to their specifications, each athlete in monobob uses a standardized sled — which means the competitor with the best skillset and driving capabilities will be the one taking home the gold.
Two-time bobsled gold medalist Kallie Humphries is an early favorite for this year’s debut event. And unlike in years past, when she competed for Canada, Humphries will be representing the stars and stripes after becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2021.
Watch women’s monobob on Feb. 12 and 13 at 8:30 p.m. EST.
Mixed Team Freestyle Skiing
Freestyle skiing consists of athletes scoring on their flips and tricks (and precise form, no doubt) as they launch themselves straight into the air. This year’s mixed team event will consist of three athletes per team (it’s up to the team itself to decide if they want two men and one woman or vice versa), with each skier completing two runs. The team’s scores are added together, and the most points win.
While 2022 will be the first year featuring mixed team freestyle skiing, mixed team aerials have been part of the FIS Freestyle Skiing World Cup as far back as 2014.
Watch mixed team freestyle skiing on Feb. 10 at 6 a.m. EST.
Mixed Team Ski Jumping
Ski jumping is about as close as we’ll get to see a human fly. Making its debut at the games this year is mixed team ski jumping, in which each team comprises four athletes, two men and two women. Scoring is determined by two factors: how far an athlete travels down the hill following their jump as well as their landing and style.
Though there won’t be a U.S. team featured in this year’s games (no American woman ski jumper qualified leading up to Beijing), Germany is a very exciting team, having won the gold medal in this event in the last four World Championships.
Mixed team ski jumping will take place on Feb. 7 at 5:25 a.m. EST.
Big Air Freestyle Skiing
If you’re a fan of watching skiing events during the Olympics there is yet another new event this year. Big air freestyle skiing consists of athletes launching themselves off a ramp and performing tricks judged on difficulty, execution and landing.
Not to be confused with freestyle skiing, which sends skiers straight up into the air on a series of ramps, big air skiing features athletes performing tricks off one huge ramp as they fly downhill. This year’s event is new for both men and women athletes.
The big air competitions will take place on Feb. 6 at 8:30 p.m., Feb. 7 at 9 p.m. and Feb. 8 at 10 p.m. EST.
Mixed Team Relay in Short Track Speed Skating
Team relays in speed skating are similar to track relays during the Summer Games, though there is no baton exchange. In mixed team relay speed skating, making its debut at the 2022 Winter Olympics, four skaters race over 2,000 meters. Instead of passing a baton, the skater pushes their waiting teammate from behind at the end of each leg to give them a boost as they start their leg.
Mixed team relay in short-track speed skating will kick off on Feb 5. at 7:25 a.m. EST.
Mixed Team Snowboard Cross
This new snowboard cross event should prove to be one of the more thrilling additions to this year’s games. Mixed team snowboard cross features teams of one man and one woman, racing on a downhill course in what is basically a knock-out relay race against other countries. When the first teammate crosses the finish line, the next can start their sprint downhill. First to the finish line wins.
The two best teams out of the first four heats advance to the thrilling final heat, competing for a spot on the podium. While snowboarding is traditionally a solo event, teams in mixed snowboard cross must rely on their individual skills and advantages to bring home the gold.
Mixed team snowboard cross will take place on Feb. 11 at 9 p.m. EST.
As with most Olympic of recent memory, the events continue to expand and evolve. If these seven events are any indication, the 2022 games should be the most electrifying yet. Watch the Beijing Games from Feb 4. through Feb. 20.
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