- Men's halfpipe
- Women's halfpipe
- Men’s slopestyle
- Women’s slopestyle
- Men's parallel giant slalom
- Women's parallel giant slalom
- Men's parallel slalom
- Women's parallel slalom
- Men’s snowboard cross
- Women’s snowboard cross
Halfpipe has been a staple ever since the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, where snowboarding made its Olympic debut. This year slopestyle, another discipline that is judged based on the execution of tricks, is set to make its Olympic debut in Sochi.
Parallel giant slalom appeared on the Olympic program for the first time in 2002, replacing the individual giant slalom events that were contested in Nagano. Slalom has been expanded for 2014 to also include the new Olympic discipline of parallel slalom, which is similar to parallel giant slalom, but features less distance between the gates, resulting in a more technical course.
Snowboard cross (SBX) made its debut on the Olympic program at the 2006 Torino Games and will be contested as an Olympic discipline for the third time this year.
The halfpipe is a 22-foot high U-shaped ditch carved out of the snow. Snowboarders will go back and forth from one side of the pipe to the other, executing a trick each time they go up the wall of the pipe. Riders are judged on the technical difficulty, execution, variation and height of their tricks.
Embedded owg_slideshow: Sochi halfpipe revealed
An Olympic staple since its debut in 1998, Sochi will mark the fifth appearance of halfpipe at the Winter Olympics.
At the time snowboarding made its Olympic debut, the sport was still seeking some measure of global acceptance and the United States' worldwide snowboarding dominance was still in its infancy. American snowboarders claimed just two of 12 medals awarded in Nagano – both of which came in halfpipe. Ross Powers and Shannon Dunn captured bronze medals in the men’s and women’s contests, respectively. The gold medals were awarded to Switzerland’s Gian Simmen in men’s halfpipe and Germany’s Nicola Thost in women’s halfpipe.
The second Olympic appearance of snowboarding at Salt Lake City in 2002 led to an unforgettable moment that has since come to be known simply as "The Sweep" - Ross Powers, Danny Kass and J.J. Thomas finished 1-2-3 in men's halfpipe before a delirious home crowd. On the women’s side, an 18-year-old Kelly Clark was responsible for the first American gold medal of the 2002 Olympics with a halfpipe victory in her Olympic debut.
The U.S. team turned in another strong performance at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, finishing 1-2 in both halfpipe events. Shaun White won his first gold medal, with Danny Kass finishing 2nd, in men’s halfpipe; while Hannah Teter and Gretchen Bleiler earned gold and silver, respectively, in women’s halfpipe. The U.S. narrowly missed out on a sweep, with Mason Aguirre and Kelly Clark each finishing just off the podium in 4th in their respective competitions.
Embedded video_content_type: Shaun White wins 2nd gold in the halfpipe in Vancouver
By the time the 2010 Vancouver Games rolled around, Shaun White had become a household name. Showing why he was the odds-on favorite, White locked up his second straight gold medal with his first run score in the final. On his second run, White unveiled a new trick – the double McTwist 1260 – on what was really just a victory lap for him and bumped his score up even further. White was joined on the podium by fellow American Scotty Lago, who finished in 3rd behind Finland’s Peetu Piiroinen. Australian Torah Bright snapped the streak of American gold medalists in women’s halfpipe, topping Hannah Teter and Kelly Clark, who finished 2-3, respectively.
The format for the men's and women's halfpipe competitions are the same. Both consist of three rounds: qualification, semifinal and final. Scores reset at the start of each round.
The field will be split into two heats. Within both heats, athletes will take two runs each, with only the best single run score counting. The top three riders from each heat will advance directly into the final round. Riders ranked fourth through ninth in their respective heats will advance to the semifinal.
12 athletes will compete, taking two runs each with only their best single run score counting. The start order for the first run will be set in reverse order of how the athletes ranked in the qualification round. In a change since Vancouver, the start order for the second run will be the same as the first run. The top six athletes will advance to the final round.
12 athletes will compete - the top six athletes from the semifinal will join the six riders who already advanced to the final straight from the qualification round - taking two runs each with only their best single run score counting. The start order for the first run will be set in reverse order of rank from the qualification and semifinal rounds. The athletes who qualified from the semifinal round will be the first to go, in reverse order of their rank in the semifinal. The athletes who qualified directly from the qualification round are the last to go, in reverse order of their rank from the qualification round. In a change since Vancouver, the start order for the second run will be the same as the first run. Medals will be awarded to the athletes with the three highest scores.
Slopestyle is a judged event in which athletes perform tricks as they move through a downhill course with features like rails, boxes and big jumps known as “kickers.” Riders are judged on the technical difficulty, execution and variation of their tricks.
Men’s and women’s snowboard slopestyle, which are making their debut in Sochi along with men’s and women’s ski slopestyle, are among the 12 new events that have been added to the Olympic program since Vancouver.
In addition to halfpipe, Shaun White is expected to also compete in slopestyle at Sochi.
The competition format for both men’s and women’s slopestyle consists of three rounds: qualification, semifinal and final. Scores reset at the start of each round.
The field will be split into two heats. Within both heats, athletes will take two runs each, with only the best single run score counting. The top four riders from each heat will advance directly into the final round. The remaining riders will all move into the semifinal.
All remaining riders who haven’t advanced to the final will compete, taking two runs each with only their best single run score counting. The start order for the first run will be set in reverse order of how the athletes ranked in the qualification round. The start order for the second run will be the same as the first run. The top four athletes will advance to the final round.
12 athletes will compete, taking two runs each with only their best single run score counting. The start order for the first run will be set in reverse order of rank from the qualification and semifinal rounds. The athletes who qualified from the semifinal round will be the first to go, in reverse order of their rank in the semifinal. The athletes who qualified directly from the qualification round are the last to go, in reverse order of their rank from the qualification round. The start order for the second run will be the same as the first run. Medals will be awarded to the athletes with the three highest scores.
The parallel slalom and parallel giant slalom both feature head-to-head racing with two riders going down the same slope on two parallel courses, marked with gates and flags. The courses must be as identical as possible. Parallel slalom is similar to parallel giant slalom, but with a shorter length of course and tighter gates. (In this respect, the differences can be compared to those of giant slalom and slalom in alpine skiing.) The competition formats are identical.
Parallel giant slalom is being contested for the third time in Sochi. In Salt Lake City, it replaced giant slalom, which was held for the first and only time at the 1998 Nagano Games. Men’s and women’s parallel slalom are making their Olympic debuts in Sochi and are among the 12 new events that have been added to the program since Vancouver.
The inaugural running of the individual giant slalom in 1998 was a truly international affair, with six medals being awarded to six different countries. Canada’s Ross Rebagliati won gold in men’s giant slalom, and France’s Karine Ruby captured the victory in women’s giant slalom.
At the 2002 Salt Lake Games, liver transplant survivor Chris Klug, who captured the bronze in the men’s event, won the lone U.S. medal in parallel giant slalom. Switzerland’s Philipp Schoch won gold in men’s parallel giant slalom, while France went 1-2 in women’s parallel slalom with Isabelle Blanc defeating 1998 gold medalist Karine Ruby for the win.
Switzerland left the 2006 Winter Olympics with both gold medals in parallel giant slalom. Philipp Schoch won the men’s event for the second year in a row, defeating his brother Simon Schoch head-to-head in the final round. Daniela Meuli delivered the other win for the Swiss in the women’s event, and American Rosey Fletcher brought home a bronze medal after winning the small final.
Jasey-Jay Anderson defeated Benjamin Karl in the big final at Vancouver.
The weather at the 2010 Vancouver Games brought foggy, rainy and slushy conditions and forced organizers to inject a hardening chemical onto the course, which created an icy surface covered with water. Each of the four quarterfinals in men’s parallel giant slalom was decided when one of the racers skidded off the slippery and treacherous course. Canada’s Jasey-Jay Anderson avoided those mistakes and took gold in the men’s event, overcoming a 0.76-second deficit at the start of the final run to defeat Austrian Benjamin Karl. Faced with the same conditions, Nicolien Sauerbreij of the Netherlands won the gold medal in the women’s event. The U.S. left Vancouver without any medals in parallel giant slalom.
The parallel giant slalom and parallel slalom competitions for both men and women all consist of two parts: qualification and finals.
Qualification takes place in two runs, one on the red course and one on the blue course, which are side-by-side. Competitors with odd-numbered bibs complete the first run on the red course, and competitors with even-numbered bibs completing the first run on the blue course.
The start order for the first run of qualification is determined as follows: The top 16 competitors based on the FIS points list are placed in a random draw, with the remaining competitors (17 to last) placed in order of their FIS points.
Any competitors finishing the first run of qualification are eligible for the second run. In the second run, competitors switch to the opposite course (if they completed the first run on the red course, they will complete the second on the blue course, and vice versa).
The start order for the second run of qualification is the reverse order of the results from the first run. Competitors with the top 16 cumulative times from the first and second runs of qualification move on to the finals. In the event of ties for 16th place, the tied competitors will compete in a run-off on the red course.
The finals consist of six parts: 1/8 finals, quarterfinals, semifinals, consolation round (5th-8th place), a small final and a big final.
In each round of the finals, competitors will take two runs, one on the red course and one on the blue course, in head-to-head matches. In the second run, the start gate will open based on the time difference between the two competitors in the first run. For example, if competitor A finishes 1 second ahead of competitor B in the first run, competitor A will start 1 second ahead of competitor B in the second run. The maximum time difference between two start gates opening in round two is 1.5 seconds, meaning that if competitor A finishes 2 seconds ahead of competitor B in round one, competitor B starts 1.5 seconds after competitor A.
Any competitor who is disqualified on or fails to finish the first run will start the second run with a penalty time. The penalty time is four percent of the best qualification time, with a maximum of 1.5 seconds.
Whoever crosses the finish line first on the second run advances to the next round. If two competitors are tied at the end of the second run, the competitor with the faster time from run two advances. If two competitors tie on both the first and the second run, the competitor with the better qualification time advances. If, in the second run, both competitors are disqualified or go off course, the competitor who passes the most gates advances to the next round.
The finals break down as follows:
- 1/8 Finals
Athletes are seeded based on qualifying times. In the 1/8 finals, the top-seeded athlete rides against number 16, number 2 faces number 15 and so on. After two runs, the eight winners advance to the quarterfinals with losers placed 9th-16th based on their qualification times. (17th place and up are determined by qualification times.)
After two runs, the winners advance to the semifinals with losers going to the consolation round (5th-8th place).
After two runs, the winners advance to the big final with the losers going to the small final.
- Small Final
After two runs, the winner is awarded the bronze medal, with the loser taking fourth place.
- Big Final
After two runs, the winner is awarded the gold medal, with the loser taking silver.
In the unpredictable event of snowboard cross, riders race head-to-head on a course that features multiple turns and jumps.
Contact is inevitable in snowboard cross, though intentional contact by pushing, pulling or any other method that causes another competitor to slow down, fall or exit the course is grounds for an automatic disqualification. Unavoidable casual contact may be deemed acceptable. All contact infractions are at the discretion of the course judges and race jury.
Embedded owg_slideshow: Sochi ski and snowboard cross course revealed
The discipline made its crashing debut at the 2006 Torino Games and will make its third appearance at the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Embedded video_content_type: Seth Wescott wins gold in snowboard cross in 2010
The first two years of men’s snowboard cross were owned by American Seth Wescott. He won the gold medal in the inaugural competition, narrowly defeating Radoslav Zidek of Slovakia. Wescott claimed his second straight gold in 2010 with a victory over Canda’s Mike Robertson. Nate Holland, another top American contender, was in the mix for a medal but a crash in the final round left him just outside the podium.
The debut of women’s snowboard cross in 2006 brought one of the most unforgettable (and unfortunate) moments of the Torino Games when American Lindsey Jacobellis attempted a trick with a seemingly insurmountable lead on the final jump, only to fall and finish second. A stunned Tanja Frieden of Switzerland crossed the line first to win gold. Jacobellis entered the 2010 Vancouver Games looking to exact a measure of revenge, but a crash in the semifinal ended those hopes and left her out of medal contention. Instead, Canada’s Maelle Ricker captured the gold in front of a home crowd.
The course will be even more crowded in Sochi. In a change since Vancouver, riders now compete in heats of six and the top three riders in each heat advance to the next round. In Vancouver, heats consisted of four riders and only two advanced. (The lone exception to this rule is the first elimination round of the men’s competition, in which heats will have five riders, with three advancing.)
The format for the men's and women's snowboard cross competitions are different, though both consist of two parts: qualification and finals.
In the qualification round, each competitor has two timed runs, with the best of those two runs determining the qualification result. The top 40 men and the top 24 women qualify for the finals.
The 40 men that qualify are divided into heats, beginning with eight heats of five riders. (All following rounds starting with the quarterfinals will have heats of six riders.) The top three riders from each of the eight heats advance to the quarterfinals. The fourth- and fifth-place riders from each heat are ranked from 25 to 40 according to their qualification results, with all fourth-place riders ranked ahead of fifth-place riders.
In the women’s final round, the 24 riders are divided into four heats of six competitors for the quarterfinals based on their qualification results according to the following chart:
1st heat: 1, 8, 9, 16, 17, 24
2nd heat: 4, 5, 12, 13, 20, 21
3rd heat: 3, 6, 11, 14, 19, 22
4th heat: 2, 7, 10, 15, 18, 23
Wescott came from behind to beat Roberston in 2010, earning his second gold.
After the first round of the men's finals, the rest of the finals breakdown is the same for both men and women:
The top three riders from each quarterfinal qualify to the semifinal heats. The fourth-, fifth- and sixth-place riders from each heat are ranked from 13 to 24 according to their qualification results, with all fourth-place riders ranked ahead of fifth-place riders, and all fifth- ahead of sixth-place riders.
The top three from each semifinal advance to the big final to compete for medals. The remaining riders advance to the small final to compete for places 7-12.
- Small Final
The results of the six-rider small final will determine places 7-12.
- Big Final
The results of the six-rider big final will determine places 1-6. Medals will be awarded to the top three finishers in the big final.
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