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Winter Olympics 2018: From 'big air' to 'mixed curling', a look at four new events introduced at Pyeongchang

Pyeongchang: From high-flying snowboarders to alpine skiers racing side-by-side, four new events aimed at highlighting drama and faster-paced excitement will make their Winter Olympic debuts at Pyeongchang.

Ahead of Friday's opening ceremony, here's a look at what spectators can expect from the four new disciplines.

Big air

Spectacular jumps and spins will be on display in Big Air, where snowboarders hurtle down a steep 160-foot (48m) ramp and then perform as many tricks as they can while flying through the air.

It is a bit like ski jumping, but with twirls. Athletes' two top scores will combine for a final total.

File photo of Lyon Farrell of the US in action at the Men's Big Air event during the Snowboarding and Freestyle Skiing World Championships. Reuters

File photo of Lyon Farrell of the US in action at the Men's Big Air event during the Snowboarding and Freestyle Skiing World Championships. Reuters

Austrian Anna Gasser won the Winter X Games Big Air crown last month in Aspen and Canada's Max Parrot won the men's title.

Olympic sport does not get much cooler than this.

Mass-start speed skating

A pack of up to 28 competitors begin at the same time for 16 laps of a 400m oval with no lane lines. Expect a few dramatic tumbles in a race filled with strategy and jostling for position.

South Korea's Kim Bo-Reum is the women's world champion, while American Joey Mantia owns the men's world title in a sport he compares to US stock car racing.

"There's bumping, there's drafting, there's strategy," Mantia said. "It's definitely more exciting to watch than standard long-track races."

Alpine team

Alpine team competition will feature two men and two women from 16 nations in head-to-head giant slalom runs on a course that demands short and rapid turns.

It's on February 24, the penultimate day of the Olympics, and is the final Alpine ski event. France captured the world title last year, with Slovakia second and Sweden third.

Mixed curling

Wang Rui and Ba Dexin of China in action during the mixed doubles curling event at Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics. Reuters

Wang Rui and Ba Dexin of China in action during the mixed doubles curling event at Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics. Reuters

"It's fast-paced, it's high energy, a lot of athleticism, a different dynamic on the ice," Canada's Kaitlyn Lawes says.

Mixed-doubles curling is played by two players, one male and one female on each team. Just 22 minutes are available to talk strategy -- normally it is 38 minutes.

And with only two players instead of the usual four, more nations could mount a threat.

"In today's fast-paced world, I think a 90-minute game is going to be more popular than a three-hour game," says Canada's John Morris.


Published Date: Feb 09, 2018 15:35 PM | Updated Date: Feb 09, 2018 15:35 PM

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