COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The Winter Olympics in Beijing are less than one month away with competition beginning Feb. 2, two days before the opening ceremony.
Athletes from across the globe will compete in seven sports over 15 disciplines in a record 109 events, with seven debuting at the 24th Winter Olympiad. Here is an introduction on what to know about the seven new Winter Olympic events you’ll see this February.
WOMEN’S MONOBOB (SUN FEB. 13 – 8:30 p.m. EST)
The most notable new event added to the Winter Olympic program is the Women’s Monobob, the first bobsleigh singles event in Olympic history.
Women’s bobsled was introduced at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games with the two-woman event and 20 years later, the second women’s event in the sport has been added to total four events in bobsleigh.
It’ll be just one woman in the sled that will have to push at the start and navigate the course in the Yanqing District. A big rule for one-person bobsleigh is all racers must use identical sleds and cannot adjust sled design for aerodynamics, like the two-person and four-person events.
Team USA has medaled in every single women’s bobsleigh event with one gold, three silvers, and two bronzes in the two-woman bobsleigh and will look to continue that streak in the monobob in February.
FREESTYLE SKIING BIG AIR (FEB. 7-8)
A brand new sport getting its first Olympic event is big air in freestyle skiing. The big air style of event exists in snowboarding as well with an introduction in 2018 with a men’s and women’s individual event.
The format will be similar with skiers going off a large jump to perform tricks and get as high as possible off the jump.
Freeski big air is contested in the Winter X Games and continues an expanding Olympic program with more action sports events across both Winter and Summer Olympics.
The women’s final will be on Feb. 7 at 9 p.m., with the men’s medal event at 10 p.m. on Feb. 8.
MIXED TEAM EVENTS
History will be made in Beijing with the first mixed events in four sports. Multiple mixed events were added to the Tokyo Games last summer with nine events across seven different sports as the IOC continues to expand mixed sports at the games.
Mixed events in Tokyo were a hit with lots of unique strategy and wall-to-wall finishes that gave viewers an exciting new avenue in familiar Olympic staples. The events this winter look to promise all that.
Short Track Speedskating Mixed Relay (SAT, FEB. 5, 6 a.m.)
The first new mixed event will be a 2000m short track speedskating relay featuring two men and two women for each team.
Short track has been in the Olympics since 1992 with the mixed relay becoming the third relay event for the sport’s Olympic catalog.
The race order will be woman (2.5 laps), woman (2.5 laps), man (2.5 laps), man (2.5 laps), woman (2 laps), woman (2 laps), man (2 laps), and man (2 laps) to total the 2000m distance.
Ski Jumping (MON, FEB. 7, 5:25 a.m.)
The fifth event for one of the original Winter Olympic sports will be a mixed team event, the second ski jumping event that will feature female athletes.
The mixed team competition will be on the normal hill rather than the large hill, the size of which is between 278 and 357 feet.
Four athletes will be on each team and have to jump in a specific order with a female athlete going first and third and a male athlete going second and fourth.
Freestyle Skiing Aerials (THU, FEB. 10, 6 a.m.)
Mixed team aerials will become the first team event in freestyle skiing at the Winter Olympics. This discipline of freestyle skiing is where athletes jump from a 6-13 foot hill and perform tricks. Judges score them and the highest wins gold.
The mixed event will require teams to choose three athletes with at least one male and one female with the combined score counting towards the final standings.
Snowboard Cross (FRI, FEB. 11, 9 p.m.)
The mixed team snowboard cross has the potential to be among the most exhilarating new events at the Winter Olympics and will be the final new mixed event contested in Beijing.
First introduced into the Olympics in 2006, snowboard cross is a fast-paced race down a course that will now have a team event.
The structure will be each team’s male rider going first and once they reach the finish line, the female rider can start out of the gates at the top of the course in a race to determine the winner.