On Wednesday, the IOC announced the addition of six events to the schedule of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. Women's ski jumping was finally added to the slate after years of legal wrangling, as well as a new halfpipe event and some groundbreaking relay competitions.
A team alpine skiing event and slopestyle competitions in snowboard and freestyle skiing didn't make the cut but will be reviewed later by the IOC for possible inclusion in Sochi. The latter is a sort of obstacle course in which competitors perform jumps, grinds and bumps while going down a mountain.
Fourth-Place Medal takes a look at the six new medal events:
Figure skating team event:
The IOC says: "The figure skating team event will feature teams made up of six skaters: one male skater, one female skater, one skating pair and one ice dance couple."
Fourth-Place Medal says: "This is a neat, out-of-the-box idea. Combining men and women in medal events doesn't happen often, but the IOC seems to be aiming for that with the added events. Adding more figure skating is a desperate ploy for television ratings (skating = ratings gold) and the judging will doubtlessly be controversial, but it's new. The IOC rarely does new, so this is a breath of fresh air."
Ski halfpipe (men's and women's):
The IOC says: "Ski halfpipe is a young and dynamic event. [...] One competitor at a time performs a routine of acrobatic jumps, flips, twists and other manuevers on a half-pipe."
Fourth-Place Medal says: "So basically it's like snowboard halfpipe on skis? Pass."
Women's ski jumping:
The IOC says: "Women's ski jumping is an individual event performed on the normal hill that operates under the same competition format as the corresponding men's competition."
Fourth-Place Medal says: "The IOC had been resistant to adding women's ski jumping, mainly due to the fact that there's not a lot of worldwide competitors in the sport. Maybe the reason there wasn't a lot of worldwide competitors is because it wasn't an Olympic sport? (Ponders.) Either way, we still don't understand why ski jumping is scored. Do they score the long jump at the Summer Olympics? Whoever jumps the farthest should win. Taking judging out of the equation is always a plus."
Biathlon mixed relay:
The IOC says: "The mixed relay has proven very popular with biathlon fans. [...] The mixed relay features two female athletes and two male athletes from the same NOC competing together. Women race a 6 km leg and men race a 7.5 km leg in the following order: W-W-M-M."
Fourth-Place Medal says: "Love this idea. The Olympics needs more events in which men and women team up. As of now, men and women directly compete in the Summer Games' equestrian events, and combine in ice dancing and pairs, and mixed doubles events in tennis and badminton. This should start a trend. How great would it be to have a mixed relay in swimming? Or a team decathlon in track (think of the strategy involved)?
Luge team relay:
The IOC says: "This new race format features teams comprised of a doubles sled, a women's singles sled and a men's singles sled. All three entrants from one team slide one after another with the clock stopping only after the third sled has crossed the finish line."
Fourth-Place Medal: "If we read this correctly, we take it to mean that this is a true relay race, where one person starts when the other gets to the bottom of the hill. Takeoffs and timing are crucial. If that's the case, this could be awesome. If the clock stopped in between each race and time was cumulatively added, that would be as exciting as normal luge races (which is to say, not exciting at all). With the added relay element, we think this could work."
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