Of the 109 medal events being contested at the upcoming Winter Games, seven are brand-new to the Olympic program. The new additions include several mixed team events — continuing a recent trend for the Olympics — as well as a new women's bobsledding discipline and a popular action sports competition.
Here's what's new to watch at the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Freeski Big Air
PyeongChang 2018 introduced snowboard big air to the Olympic stage, and now the freeskiers are set to get in on the action too. Ski big air will make its Olympic debut in Beijing with medal events being held for both men and women.
Freeski big air has been a popular competition at Winter X Games and other action sports events for a while now, but this will be the first year it's contested at the Winter Olympics. The format is similar to snowboard big air — the course consists of one large jump, and during the final, competitors will have three attempts to execute their biggest and best tricks. Each skier's best two attempts will count toward their total score, but they must perform different tricks on each of those attempts.
This photo taken on February 3, 2021, shows the Shougang Big Air venue, which will host Big Air freestyle skiing and snowboarding competition at the 2022 Winter Olympics, in the grounds of a former steel factory in Beijing, a year before the opening of the Games on February 4, 2022.
AFP via Getty Images
Bobsledding has expanded to include a fourth event as women's monobob joins the two-man, two-woman and four-man events on the Olympic program.
As the name suggests, the monobob features a sled designed for one athlete. Each athlete will not only be responsible for pushing their sled but also piloting it through the course. And unlike other bobsled events, technology has been removed from the equation. Whereas sled design and aerodynamics can give countries an advantage in the two-person and four-person events, monobob competitors all race in identical sleds.
Mixed Team Snowboard Cross
In this twist on snowboard cross, one man and one woman from each participating country are paired together. The men race first, and as each rider crosses the finish line, their teammate's starting gate will immediately open at the top of the course, creating a staggered start for the women. From there, the women race down the course to decide the final results.
Mixed team snowboard cross debuted at the world championships in 2019 with the American duo of Lindsey Jacobellis and Mick Dierdorff earning the first-ever world title.
Mixed Team Aerials
In another new addition to the freestyle skiing program, there will be a team event for aerials, a discipline that has predominately been an individual one up to this point.
Each team consists of three athletes, with the requirement being at least one man and one woman on the team. (The third athlete can be either male or female.) Scores from all three athletes are added together to get the team score, and competition takes place over multiple phases and rounds.
Mixed Team Short Track Relay
The short track program will add a third relay event to the Winter Olympics schedule as the new mixed team relay joins the existing men's 5000m and women's 3000m relays.
Four skaters (two men, two women) per country will participate in the relay, with the two women going first for 2.5 laps each, followed by the two men for 2.5 laps each, then the two women for 2 laps each, and the two men for two laps each. The total race distance will be 2000m. If an athlete falls, a teammate of the same gender can tag in and finish the relay leg.
Mixed Team Ski Jumping
Ski jumping has featured a men's team event since 1988, but now a mixed team event will be added to the program for the first time.
Each team consists of four athletes, and they will jump in the following order: woman, man, woman, man. The competition will take place on the normal hill, and all individual jump scores will be added together to get the team score.