Pyeongchang 2018

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Doubling up, mass starts and big tricks – four new events get Games-time in PyeongChang

SAPPORO, JAPAN - FEBRUARY 23: Nana Takagi of Japan competes in the speed skating ladies mass start on the day six of the 2017 Sapporo Asian Winter Games at Obihiro forest speed skating oval on February 23, 2017 in Obihiro, Japan. (Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)

PyeongChang 2018 is set to play host to four new Olympic Winter Games events: curling mixed doubles, speed skating mass start, an alpine skiing team event and snowboard big air.

For the curling, one male and one female competitor will make up each team, playing with six stones rather than the traditional eight, with the contest decided over eight ends rather than the normal 10.

The event has been on trial at the past two Winter Youth Olympic Games, and the pair to watch – the current world champions – are Russian duo Anastasia Bryzgalova and Alexander Krushelnitskiy.

The speed skating is a long track event over 16 laps in which a mass start is followed by four separate sprints where points are awarded, although the first three across the finish will decide the medals. It is another one to have been staged on a trial basis at the Youth Games.

Adding another new dimension to the Games come February is a fresh twist on the traditions of alpine skiing, namely a team event.

Each national team will be made up of two men and two women, and will race in a parallel slalom best-of-four contest. In all, 16 teams are expected to line up competing in a knock-out format over four rounds. France are the current world champions, beating Slovakia into second, with Sweden completing the podium.

And the final new sporting addition for these Games is snowboard big air. This new Games discipline sees competitors racing down a steep ramp before performing all manner of tricks high in the air. It has long since featured at both the World Championships and Winter X Games.


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