New events catch the eye in Sochi
After two days of competition in Sochi, some of the new events that are making their debut at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games have already made a significant impact – drawing praise from fans, officials and athletes alike.
The first medals of the Games were awarded in snowboard slopestyle – one of the new events on the programme – and inaugural gold medallist Sage Kostenburg, of the USA, is pleased with how the event was welcomed into the Games.
"All the riders were stoked with how things were organised,” said the 20-year-old. “On a global level we’re stoked to have snowboarding in there."
Bronze medallist Mark McMorris, of Canada, was also happy to be competing on the Olympic stage for the first time.
"It was an amazing debut for our sport,” said the 20-year-old. “The weather was great and the riding level was extremely high. There was a great turnout of spectators. An all around amazing vibe and I think the future for slopestyle is amazingly bright."
For IOC Sports Director Christophe Dubi, the performances of Kostenburg and the other athletes gave him “goose-bumps”, with the slopestyle event enjoying a memorable debut at the Games.
“It is just extraordinary,” he says. “I think one thing we share in common is the desire for ultimate emotion. When we come into the Games, from the very start of the Opening Ceremony to each and every sport, we are in full mode emotion. And, thanks to Sage and the other riders, we really had goose bumps. It really was a grand entrance for slopestyle.”
Alongside men’s snowboard slopestyle, 11 other events will make their debut during Sochi 2014, with the figure skating team competition, biathlon mixed relay, luge team relay, ski halfpipe, ski slopestyle, snowboard parallel slalom and women’s ski jumping also being held for the first time.
According to Dubi, it is vital for the IOC to update the Olympic programme with new events, as and when it sees fit.
“We have 12 new events in the Games,” he explains. “For the IOC, what is at play is to review the programme on a regular basis to make sure it remains relevant.
“Of course, we need to preserve our history, but at the same time we have to remain relevant and make sure that we capture new audiences as well.”
And those audiences seem impressed with what they have seen so far, with social media posts from around the world praising the new events.
“Can I just add: Slopestyle. Best. Addition. Ever. What an event - where has it been hiding?” posted @martinpmcevoy on Twitter.
With more new events still to come, Dubi is pleased with how the latest additions have been received so far.
“All in all it is a great start for sport and a great start for the new events,” he says.