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What sports will be on the programme in Sochi?

What sports will be on the programme in Sochi?
©Getty Images (16)

08/01/2014

It's Go Time!

The full lowdown on each winter discipline.

Alpine skiing

Medal events: 10
Athletes: 320
Dates: 9–22 February

Alpine skiing first appeared on the Olympic programme in 1936, when men’s and women’s combined events were held. Now, the Olympic programme features ten medal events, with men and women both contesting downhill, super combined, super-G, giant slalom and slalom. The Sochi 2014 Alpine skiing events will open with the men’s downhill on 9 February, when Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal will be looking to improve on the silver medal he won in Vancouver in 2010.

 

Biathlon

Medal events: 11
Athletes: 220
Dates: 8–22 February

Biathlon debuted at the Winter Games in 1960, when the only event was the men’s 20km individual race. The relay was added in 1968, while the 10km sprint debuted in 1980, before women’s events were first held in 1992. Pursuit and mass start events were added in 2002 and 2006 respectively, while Sochi 2014 will see the mixed relay make its Olympic debut. Reigning women’s 15km champion Tora Berger, of Norway, will be eyeing more gold in Sochi, having enjoyed a superb 2013 World Cup season.

What’s New?
Biathlon mixed relay – Mixed
Teams will comprise of two men and two women. Women will open the relay, completing the first two 6km legs. The men then complete the next two 7.5km legs.

 

Bobsleigh

Medal events: 3
Athletes: 170
Dates: 16–23 February

A four-man bobsleigh race took place at the first Winter Games in 1924, with a two-man event added four years later and the women’s two-man event debuting at the 2002 Games. Swiss duo Beat Hefti and Thomas Lamparter have already tasted success in Sochi, having won the two-man event at the World Cup in February 2013. The home crowd, meanwhile, is sure to get behind Alexander Zubkov as he aims to lead the Russian four-man team to Olympic success at the Sanki Sliding Centre.

 

Cross-country skiing

Medal events: 12
Athletes: 310
Dates: 8–23 February

Cross-country skiing has been contested at every edition of the Winter Games, dating back to 1924, and Sochi 2014 will feature 12 events (six for men and six for women) ranging from a 1.5km sprint to the 50km (men) and 30km (women) mass start races. Norway’s reigning sprint and individual pursuit Olympic champion Marit Bjørgen is again expected to challenge for medals in the women’s events, while her compatriot, Olympic gold medallist Petter Northug, will look to dominate the men’s events.

 

Curling

Medal events: 2
Athletes: 100
Dates: 10–21 February

After featuring at the first Winter Games, in 1924, curling did not appear on the Olympic programme again until 1998, when the men’s and women’s titles were won by Switzerland and Canada respectively. Canada won the men’s title in 2006 and 2010, while Sweden’s women – led by skip Anette Norberg – also topped the podium in both 2006 and 2010. With Norberg now retired, Sweden will be looking to new skip Margaretha Sigfridsson to help them complete a hat-trick of titles.

 

Figure skating

Medal events: 5
Athletes: 148
Dates: 6–22 February

In addition to the singles, pairs and ice dancing events, a figure skating team contest will also be held in Sochi – marking the event’s debut on the Olympic programme. Three-time world champion Patrick Chan, of Canada, will be aiming to win his first Olympic medal in the men’s singles, while South Korea’s Yuna Kim will be hoping to defend her women’s singles title. Russian hopes are likely to rest on world pairs champions Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov.

What’s New?
Figure skating team event – Mixed
Featuring teams made up of six skaters – one male, one female, one pair and one ice dance couple. Points will be awarded for each routine and the team with the highest number of aggregate points will win gold.

 

Freestyle skiing

Medal events: 10
Athletes: 282
Dates: 6–21 February

Sochi 2014 will see four new events join the freestyle skiing programme, with both a men’s and a women’s event in ski slopestyle and a men’s and a women’s event in ski halfpipe joining ski cross, aerials and moguls. Great Britain’s James Woods is the reigning World Cup champion in the men’s ski slopestyle and will be aiming to win his country’s first ever Winter Olympic skiing medal in Sochi, while Switzerland’s two-time world champion Virginie Faivre will be the woman to beat in the ski halfpipe.

What’s New?
Ski halfpipe – Men’s and Women’s 
Each athlete will perform an array of big airs and other tricks in the halfpipe before being judged on technical difficulty, style, flow, variation and execution.
Ski slopestyle – Men’s and Women’s 
Skiers combine airs and tricks on a course featuring rails and a variety of jumps before being scored on execution, difficulty of line, landing and their use of the course.

 

Ice hockey

Medal events: 2
Athletes: 468
Dates: 8–23 February

Ice hockey has been played at every edition of the Winter Games, with the women’s event making its debut in Nagano in 1998. In Vancouver in 2010, hosts Canada enjoyed a fairy-tale ending to the men’s tournament as Sidney Crosby scored the gold medal-winning goal seven minutes and 40 seconds into overtime to secure a 3-2 win over the USA. The Canadian women also delighted the home crowd by winning their third successive Olympic title, following a 2-0 win over the USA.

 

Luge

Medal events: 4
Athletes: 110
Dates: 8–13 February

Luge first featured at the Olympic Winter Games in Innsbruck in 1964 and has remained on the programme ever since, with Sochi 2014 marking the debut of the mixed team relay event. Germany enjoyed a clean sweep of the 2013 World Cup titles, with reigning Olympic champion Felix Loch and 2013 world champion Natalie Geisenberger claiming the men’s and women’s crowns respectively, while Tobias Wendl and Tobias Artl topped the doubles standings.

What’s New?
Luge team relay – Mixed
Each country will field a men’s singles sled, a doubles sled and a women’s singles sled. All three will slide down the track, one after another, with the clock stopping only after the third sled has crossed the finish line.

 

Nordic combined

Medal events: 3
Athletes: 55
Dates: 12–20 February

Nordic combined, which features ski jumping and a cross-country skiing race, has appeared at every Winter Games since 1924. The results of the ski jumping element determine the starting places for the cross-country race, with the jumping points converted into time penalties. France’s Jason Lamy Chappuis, who won the individual normal hill/10 km event in Vancouver in 2010, will be among the medal favourites again after finishing second overall in the 2013 World Cup.

 

Short track speed skating

Medal events: 8
Athletes: 120
Dates: 10–21 February

Short track speed skating was added to the Olympic programme at the 1992 Winter Games, with one individual and one relay event for both men and women. Additional individual distances were added in 1994, before men’s and women’s 1,500m events joined the programme in 2002. In Sochi, men and women will contest the 500m, 1,000m and 1,500m, while there will also be a 3,000m relay for women and a 5,000m relay for men.

 

Skeleton

Medal events: 2
Athletes: 50
Dates: 13–15 February

Men’s skeleton featured on the Olympic programme at the 1928 and 1948 Winter Games, which were both held in St Moritz, where the sport originated on the famed Cresta Run. Following a 54-year absence, skeleton reappeared on the programme in 2002 in Salt Lake City, when a women’s event was also added. The Olympic skeleton competition consists of four heats run over two days, with the gold medal going to the competitor with the fastest aggregate time.

 

Ski jumping

Medal events: 4
Athletes: 100
Dates: 8–17 February

Ski jumping has been contested at every Winter Games, but Sochi 2014 will mark the first time that women will compete in the event at the Games. From 1924 to 1960, only the individual large hill event was held at the Games, with the individual normal hill being added in 1964 followed by the team large hill event in 1988. Austria’s Gregor Schlierenzauer won the men’s overall World Cup title in 2013, while Japan’s 2012 Youth Olympic champion Sara Takanashi took the women’s World Cup crown.

What’s New?
Women’s ski jumping – Women’s
The women’s normal hill event will mark the first time that women will compete in ski jumping at the Winter Games.

 

Snowboarding

Medal events: 10
Athletes: 252
Dates: 6-22 February

Snowboarding is the newest discipline on the Winter Games programme, having first been held in Nagano in 1998, when giant slalom and halfpipe events were contested. Snowboard cross was added in 2006, while Sochi 2014 will see slopestyle and parallel special slalom events make their first appearances at the Games. The last two men’s Olympic halfpipe titles have been won by American Shaun White, who wowed the crowd in Vancouver in 2010, scoring an Olympic record 48.4 points out of 50.

What’s New?
Snowboard slopestyle – Men’s and Women’s 
Athletes will be scored after descending a course consisting of rails and a variety of jumps, as they combine big airs and technical tricks into one run.
Snowboard parallel slalom – Men’s and Women’s
Riders will race two at a time down the same slope on two parallel courses, outlined with gates and triangular flags.

 

Speed skating

Medal events: 12
Athletes: 180
Dates: 8–22 February

Speed skating has been part of the Winter Games since the first edition, in 1924, with women’s events added to the programme in 1960. In Sochi, men and women will each race over 500m, 1,000m, 1,500m and 5,000m. Men will also contest the 10,000m, while women will also race over 3,000m. Since 2006, men’s and women’s team pursuit events have also been held. The Netherlands’ Ireen Wüst and Sven Kramer are the athletes to watch in the women’s and men’s events respectively.

Sochi 2014 photos

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