New Winter Sports at 2014 Sochi Olympics

Are you curious about what sports will be introduced to the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games?

Right now, the big news is about freestyle skier Sarah Burke and how her death will influence the induction of extreme sports at the next Winter Olympics. Regardless, the Sochi Extreme Park is not the only new winter sports surprise to expect.

How new winters sports are added

In order to be successful with advocacy for a particular sport to be added, the Olympics' website states: "To make it onto the Olympic programme, a sport first has to be recognised: it must be administered by an International Federation which ensures that the sport's activities follow the Olympic Charter. If it is widely practised around the world and meets a number of criteria established by the IOC session, a recognised sport may be added to the Olympic programme on the recommendation of the IOC's Olympic Programme Commission."

In spite of these rules, the headlines periodically mention that someone wants to add a weird sport to the Olympics. While sheep-shearing and pole dancing may be athletic, this does not mean the International Olympics Committee (IOC) will recognize these as acceptable. However, this does not stop groups from trying to petition the IOC. Normally, petitioners start out at a website like Change.org or GoPetition.com to get the ball rolling.

The X Games shortcut to the Olympics

When a new sport is added to the Olympics, it takes time and advocacy. On the other hand, there appears to be a shortcut to this process—especially in regards to the X Games. In discussing the inclusion of extreme sports, IOC president Jacques Rogge said, "Such events provide great entertainment for the spectators and add further youthful appeal to our already action-packed lineup of Olympic winter sports."

First round of new Sochi 2014 events

When the IOC met in April of 2011, there were a total of five new events added for Sochi 2014. This list included a figure skating team event, the biathlon mixed relay, the luge team relay, and the ski halfpipe (men and women).

Although it comes as a surprise to sports fans that think that there is absolute equality between the sexes at the Olympics, one event has been excluded in the past. Thankfully, this inequality is being rectified and the long awaited women's ski jumping event will be featured at the next Winter Olympics.

Second set of winters sports added

Soon after the April meet, the IOC reconvened in June 2011. It was there that three additional events were added for the Sochi 2014 games. In a move toward equality in the Olympic Games, each of the three events will include a section for men and women. These events are the ski slopestyle, snowboard slopestyle, and the snowboard parallel special slalom.

Can we expect more Sochi 2014 additions?

At the Olympics website, you will see that there are 15 winter sports in place. Since it cannot have more than 28 events, this means that there are currently 23 events lined up for the 2014 Sochi Olympics—if you include the eight added in 2011.

In the meantime, these five extra spaces can remain unfilled indefinitely. Otherwise, it will be a long wait to hear if sports like the Alpine team parallel competition have any new news on their feasibility study. Unfortunately, the next IOC meeting is in Buenos Aries in 2013, and there are no indicators that they will add any new events to Sochi 2014.

Maryam Louise is a life-long advocate of wintertime sports and outdoor living through her experiences in year-round farming, camping, and hunting in Western Kentucky. In her lifetime, she has also traveled to many of the world's greatest snowy mountain peaks in Yemen, Iran, Switzerland, and California.

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Updated Wednesday, Feb 15, 2012