Freestyle skiing at the Winter Olympics boasts a wide range of skills on display, incorporating speed, trickery and technique.
Freestyle skiing will take place at two different locations at Beijing 2022. The Genting Snow Park will host most of the events, while Shougang Park will hold big air and aerials events.
Here’s everything you need to know about freestyle skiing at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics:
What are the different types of freestyle skiing?
Freestyle skiing at the Winter Olympics consists of 13 events, with each event having its own goals and rules.
Here are the freestyle skiing events that will be on display at the Beijing games:
- Men’s and Women's Aerials
- Men’s and Women’s Moguls
- Men’s and Women's Ski Cross
- Men’s and Women’s Halfpipe
- Men’s and Women’s Slopestyle
- Men’s and Women’s Big Air
- Aerials Mixed Teams
What are the rules for freestyle skiing?
Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics
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The moguls, halfpipe, aerial and slopestyle events are all judge events, meaning athletes are scored by a group of judges on the difficulty of their tricks on different runs throughout the tournament. The big air events also take into account the distance and height of competitors’ jumps.
Moguls sees competitors ski down a moguled course that demands technical consistency and speed, while slopestyle skiing uses rails and boxes to determine which Olympian can provide the best trickery and flair.
The aerial events involve a series of jumps that competitors use for different tricks, and are judged on form, takeoff and landing, while the big air events use one large jump, giving athletes the opportunity for one trick.
Ski cross is unlike the other events as it is a timed event and functions as a more traditional race. Competitors go through stages of racing down a course that includes both natural terrain and artificial obstacles such as jumps.
How many medals has Team USA won in skiing?
Since the sport’s introduction to the Olympics in 1992, Team USA has racked up the most medals alongside Canada. Both countries have 25 total medals in the event, but Canada sits atop the medal table after winning 12 gold medals to Team USA’s nine.
The biggest story heading into the event surrounds 18-year old Eileen Gu, an American-Chinese competitor that switched from competing for the United States to China. Gu is the favorite for several events going into Beijing after winning gold in the slopestyle and halfpipe events at the 2021 World Championships in Colorado.
What is the history of freestyle skiing?
While ski acrobatics have been around since the 1930s, freestyle skiing was popularized in the 1950s by Norwegian skier Stein Eriksen. It took years of professional competitions before the International Ski Federation recognized freestyle skiing as a sport in 1979.
After being included as a demonstration sport at the 1988 Winter Olympics, freestyle skiing made its debut at the 1992 Winter Olympic Games in Albertville, France. The first-ever Olympic medal given for freestyle skiing was won by Edgar Grospiron of France, with Team USA’s Nelson Carmichael nabbing the bronze.