To say the Olympics have expanded over the years would be the understatement of the century. There were 241 competitors at the original reestablishment of the 1896 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. Now, there are more than 10,000 athletes competing for medals!
The 2018 Winter Olympics will be held in PyeongChang, South Korea from Feb. 8 to Feb. 25. There will be 102 events within 15 sports. As time has passed and new sports have become increasingly popular, the International Olympic Committee has been forced to decide whether to recognize various pastimes as Olympic sports. This year, four new events will be played for the first time at the games.
If you want to see something new, be on the lookout for these exciting events, which are making their Olympic debut:
Alpine Skiing Nations Team Event
In this exciting event, two indiviual skiers from opposing teams go head-to-head on the slope. They speed down identical slaloms spaced 10 meters (approximately 11 yards) apart in races that last no longer than 25 seconds. Each team has two men, two women and two reserve skiers. The winner of each race scores a point (if both racers fall or ski off the track, the one that made it farthest gets the point). If there is a tie, the team with the lowest combined time wins.
Curling Mixed Doubles
Now there’s even more ice-sweeping action to love! In this new Winter Olympics event, each team includes one man and one woman. Each team throws five of the polished granite curling stones. The players on each team take turns, with the player throwing the first stone also throwing the team’s final stone. Each game lasts eight “ends.” Scoring, which is the same as regular curling, is pretty simple. The team whose stone is closest to the center when the end is finished earns a point. A “snowman,” or 8-0, is the best possible score.
Men’s and Women’s Big Air Snowboarding
Big air snowboarding is another fast-paced and exciting sport making its Olympic debut this winter. Contestants perform one massive jump and show off their best snowboarding tricks in mid-air. The ramp in PyeongChang is the biggest in the world at 49-meters (more than 160-feet) tall with a 40-degree slope at its steepest point. Snowboarders are judged on the difficulty, execution, amplitude and landing of their jumps. This one will be a must-watch if you like extreme sports!
Men’s and Women’s Mass Start Speedskating
In this new event, as many as 24 skaters line up and start the race together. They race together for 16 laps with four intermediate sprints interspersed throughout, including one at the very end. The top three finishers take the podium spots. This event has been described as NASCAR on ice!
New Events Coming In 2020
The next Summer Olympics will take place in Tokyo, Japan from July 24 to Aug. 9, 2020. There will be five new events to look forward to during those games. They are:
- Sports Climbing
You can view a list of all the sports at the Winter Olympics and find out more about them on the International Olympic Committee website.
[h/t: Mental Floss]