The executive board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved the inclusion of four new events in the 2018 Winter Olympics. Snowboard big air, mass starts in speedskating, mixed doubles in curling, and an alpine skiing team competition—all for both men and women—will debut in three years in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Monday’s decision was based on several criteria, including youth appeal, gender equality, and operational cost and complexity, according to the IOC’s statement. The Olympic governing body expects that the new events will increase female participation in the Winter Games and make for a record number of women’s competitions.
- Team skiing: A staple of the World Cup, this parallel slalom race pits two two-person teams against each other. The event will be for both men and women.
- Snowboard big air: This competition involves athletes fitting as many jumps, flips, and spins into the allotted time as possible, the Washington Post reports.
- Mass starts in speedskating: In mass-start speedskating, 24 skaters race to complete 16 laps around the ice. “Mass-start races would add intrigue, team tactics, and a direct confrontation of skating styles in a long-distance event,” the AP’s Stephen Wilson reports.
- Snowboard parallel slalom: Last year, Vic Wild of Russia took the gold in the men’s category, while Austrian Julia Dujmovits placed first in women’s.
- Big air freestyle skiing: This new event was proposed but didn’t make the cut.
The additions bring the total number of events to 102. South Korean organizers say that these will be the first games with more than 100 contests. “We believe that adding new events will make the 2018 Winter Games more innovative,” Pyeongchang organizing committee leader Cho Yang-ho told the AP.