Saturday, April 9, 2011

Six New Events Added to the Sochi 2014 Programme

The sports programme of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games was expanded by six events on 6 April 2011 when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) confirmed the inclusion of Ski Halfpipe (Men and Women), Women’s Ski Jumping, Biathlon Mixed Relay, Figure Skating Team event and Luge Team Relay. The decision to include the new events was based on a report presented by the Olympic Programme Commission (OPC) to the IOC Executive Board (EB) in Acapulco in October last year. The OPC studied the proposal of the individual International Sports Federations and, at the request of the EB, compiled a detailed analysis of all candidate events at their respective world championships this winter. In addition, the OPC looked at an operational feasibility study conducted by the organisers of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games. The key positive factors included whether the changes would increase universality, gender equity and youth appeal, and, in general, add value to the Games. Other considerations included the cost of infrastructure, and the impact on the overall quota and the number of events. "The inclusion of these events on the Olympic Winter Games programme is sure to be appreciated by athletes and sports fans alike", said IOC President Jacques Rogge. "These are exciting, entertaining events that perfectly complement the existing events on the sports programme, bring added appeal and increase the number of women participating at the Games. I look forward to watching the athletes compete in these events in Sochi 2014". Five other events - Ski Slopestyle (Men and Women), Snowboard Slopestyle (Men and Women), and Alpine Team Parallel competition - are subject to a further feasibility study. A decision on the inclusion of these five events will be made within the coming weeks. Ski Halfpipe is a young and dynamic event that will complement the recent introductions of the popular Freestyle Ski Cross and Snowboard Halfpipe events that drew high spectator numbers and television audiences at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games. One competitor at a time performs a routine of acrobatic jumps, flips, twists and other manoeuvres on a Halfpipe. The athletes are judged on their take-offs, the height they reach above the top of the pipe, and difficulty of their manoeuvres. A qualification round and final round are staged, with two runs per athlete in both. Ski Halfpipe will make its first appearance in January 2012 at the first Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck.

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