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There are records of people performing somersaults on skis at the beginning of the 20th century in Norway, Italy and Austria, and in the early 1920s, US skiers started to flip and spin. Freestyle skiing really began to take off in America during the 1960s when social change and freedom of expression together with the advances in ski equipment led to development of new and exciting skiing techniques. Freestyle skiing was affectionately known as ‘hotdogging’. The name seemed to perfectly capture the breathtaking mix of acrobatic tricks, jumps and sheer adrenalin rush of the sport.
Freestyle was recognised as a discipline by the International Ski Federation (FIS) in 1979. The governing body brought in new regulations in an effort to curb some of the more dangerous elements of the infant sport and the first FIS World Cup series was staged the following year.
Freestyle skiing was contested as a demonstration sport at the 1988 Calgary Games. There were events for both men and women in all three events – moguls, aerials and ballet. Four years later, the mogul event gained medal status at the Albertville Games, as did the aerial event in Lillehammer in 1994. Ski cross made its Olympic debut at the 2010 Vancouver Games. Slopestyle and halfpipe were added to the freestyle skiing programme at the 2014 Sochi Games.
Highlights of the Men's Ski Cross from the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park as Jean-Frederic Chapuis leads a French clean sweep of the medals at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games.
Medals :Gold: Jean-Frederic Chapuis (FRA)Silver: Arnaud Bovolenta (FRA)Bronze: Jonathan Midol (FRA)
Highlights of the Ladies' Moguls Finals from the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park as Canada's Justine Dufour-Lapointe wins the gold medal at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games.
Gold: Justine Dufour-Lapointe (CAN)Silver: Chloe Dufour-Lapointe (CAN)Bronze: Hannah Kearney (USA)
Highlights from the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park as Maddie Bowman wins gold in the inaugural Ladies' Ski Halfpipe at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games.
Medal Winners:Gold: Maddie Bowman (USA)Silver: Marie Martinod (FRA)Bronze: Ayana Onozuka (JPN)
Highlights of the Men's Ski Slopestyle Final from the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park where Joss Christensen, Gus Kenworthy and Nicholas Goepper win the medals for the USA at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games.
Medal Winners Gold - Joss Christensen (USA)Silver - Gus Kenworthy (USA)Bronze - Nicholas Goepper (USA)