Sochi 2014: New Olympic events
Get excited, Canada! These new Olympic sports promise to up Canada’s medal count and make Sochi 2014 one of our best Olympics yet
New sports at the Olympics
What can you expect at the 2014 Olympics? Along with the usual competition, there are also eight new events being added this year.
“As a nation, we should be really excited, because we have really strong athletes in all of these sports,” says Olympic medallist Ashleigh McIvor, who won gold in Skicross at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games.
According to Infostrada, a company that collects international sports data, Canada is expected to win 31 medals – and at least eight of those will be from the new sports – how cool is that?
“Canada has moved into third with recent success on the world circuit. Ahead of the U.S. and Russia for total medal count,” says McIvor. “Largely due to the new sports being introduced.”
So what are these sports? Click through to check them out!
Snowboard and ski slopestyle
Athletes (both skiers and snowboarders) will whip down a course of rails and jumps showing off their best tricks and highest jumps.
“It’s so great that these athletes are going to have the opportunity to compete on the world stage,” says McIvor. “They’ve been training at the highest level for most of their lives. And Canada is strong!”
She’s got that right. According to Infostrada, Canadian Kayla Turski is expected to win gold for slopestyle ski while Dara Howell is projected to win silver. Spencer O’Brien is expected to win silver for women’s slopestyle snowboarding. Mark McMorris is projected to win gold for men’s slopestyle snowboarding, while Sébastien Toutant is expected to win silver.
Team figure skating
Figure skating is always one of the most dramatic sports to watch – and now that team figure skating is being added, it’s going to be an even more drama-filled event.
Teams of six skaters (one male, one female, one pair and one ice dance couple) will perform a routine. As always, the team with the most collective points wins.
Fun fact: Canada is sending the biggest figure skating team to the Olympics (led by Patrick Chan, Tessa Scott and Scott Moir). And, according to Infostrada, we’re expected to win bronze.
Women’s ski jumping
Sochi will be the first time women will compete in ski jumping at the Olympics (men’s ski jumping has been an event since 1924) – so it’s an exciting year for female ski jumpers.
The women’s ski jumping will be similar to the men’s in that the athletes will go off a ramp, jump and try to land as far as possible. The only difference is that the men’s competition will consist of three events (one on a normal hill, one on the large hill and one team event) while women’s will only take place on a normal hill.
“The athletes have met a lot of criteria to be added to the Olympic program,” says McIvor. “And I think it’s great that they have!”
Canada’s Olympic women’s ski jumping team consists of Atsuko Tanaka, Alexandra Pretorius and Taylor Henrich.
Ski half pipe
Athletes will show off their highest jumps and coolest tricks in the halfpipe.
“Ski halfpipe is such an impressive sport – how far they get out the pipe, landing on top of the flats, hitting the transitions perfectly,” says McIvor. “It’s the future of the sport of skiing.”
And, according to Infostrada, Canada’s Rosalind Groenewoud is expected to win gold.
Snowboard parallel slalom
In this head-to-head race, two athletes race down the same slope on two parallel courses, and have to maneuver their way between gates. This will definitely be a competitive, fun one to watch.
Canada’s Snowboard team for Sochi 2014 includes Derek Livingston, Kevin Hill, Charles Reid, Katie Tsuyuki, Alexandra Duckworth, Jenna Blasman, Ariane Lavigne and Maxence Parrot.
Team relay luge
A team of three sleds will go down the luge track, one after another – but the clock won’t stop until the third sled has crossed the finish line.
When the clock stops for Canada, hopefully it will be for a medal. Infostrada predicts that Canada’s team, consisting of Alex Gough, Samuel Edney, Tristan Walker and Justin Snith, will win silver. A big deal – considering Canada has never won an Olympic medal in luge.
Note: If you’re interested in seeing exactly how team relay luge will work, check out this cool infographic by the Globe and Mail.
Mixed relay biathlon
The mixed relay biathlon is made up of a team of four biathletes (two men and two women). The athletes named to Canada’s biathlon team are Jean-Philippe Le Guellec, Nathan Smith, Scott Perras, Brendan Green, Rosanna Crawford, Megan Heinicke, Megan Imrie and Zina Kocher.
The women will open the relay by skiing a 6 km track. When the women arrive at the handover zone, there will be a relay-style transition (in which the arriving skier has to touch the hand of the next skier before they can depart). The men will then complete the next two 7.5 km tracks.
The relay also includes two bouts of shooting – in which competitors must hit five targets per bout (otherwise a 150 metre penalty loop is imposed).