Since 1924, in one capacity or another, skiing has been on the Olympic Winter Games program. What started out as a minor competition has now evolved into six separate disciplines: alpine, cross country, ski jumping, Nordic combined, freestyle, and snowboarding. And although freestyle and snowboarding are relatively new to the sports world, they’re rising quickly in popularity. All of these events, however, require speed, endurance, skill, and determination.
Although the next Winter Olympics are four years away, you can start educating yourself on the different events now so that you can be ready to cheer on your country’s team in 2022.
Alpine: Downhill, Super-G, Slaloms, Super Combined
Each discipline has its own events. The alpine competition has ten altogether: five for women and five for men. Downhill consists of the longest course and highest speeds, and Super-G stands for super giant slalom, combining the speed of downhill with sharper turns of giant slalom. Each skier receives one run, with the fastest athlete declared the winner.
The slalom is also an alpine event, but a little different. It has the shortest course and quickest turns. The giant slalom as fewer and wider turns. In both slaloms, the skier makes two runs, each on a different course on the same slope, and their times are added to determine the winner. The fastest athlete, of course, receiving the gold. The “super” event is, as you might guess, a combination of a downhill run and a one-run slalom. The downhill is shorter than it would be for an alpine event, and again, the times are added together to determine the fastest athlete and therefore the winner.
This competition is comprised of 12 different events – individual sprint, team sprint, 10km individual start, 15km pursuit, 30km mass start, and the 4x5km relay for the women. The men compete in a similar order, though at longer distances for the individual start (15km), pursuit (30km), mass start (50km), and relay (4x10km). The differences in distances are to account for the natural size disparity between men and women and the guidelines within their divisions.
As of 2018, only men may compete in ski jumping, in which there are three events. Male athletes compete in the individual normal hill, individual large hill, and the team event on the large hill. For all individual events, an athlete is afforded two jumps, and the score of those two jumps are added together. The competitor with the highest mass score is the victor. For the team event, each team is comprised of four members, and the field is reduced to the top eight teams after the first jump.