Olympic Sports >> Freestyle Skiing

Freestyle Skiing

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The Competition

The objective

To obtain the best possible scores in two spectacular and demanding disciplines, the moguls and the aerials. The mogul competition involves competitors skiing and jumping down a steep field full of bumps, while in the aerial competition contestants perform breathtaking, acrobatic leaps from a prepared jump. The newly added Skicross is a direct elimination as skiers try to descend as quickly as possible on a course littered with difficult obstacles.

6 events (3 for men, 3 for women)

Moguls (men and women), Aerials (men and women) and 2 new events, the Skicross (men and women)

Venue

Cypress Mountain

Competition dates

Feb. 13, 14, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25

The Disciplines

Moguls

Contestants attack a heavily moguled slope between 220-250m (680-800 feet) long, performing two jumps along the way. From the first round, 20 competitors qualify for the final. In the final, competitors compete in reverse order with the last score going first and so on. First round scores are not taken into account for the final.

Aerials

Contestants build up speed on the steep inrun leading to a choice of ramps depending on their chosen jumps (twists, somersaults, etc.). Two first round jumps determine 12 finalists. The final is also two jumps but first round scores are not taken into account. The highest combined score wins.

Skicross

One qualifying round with 2 timed runs for each skier. The final round of 32 or 16 competitors are then classified into groups of four. The four skiers in each group race off in a direct elimination process. The top two from each group go through to the next round leading to the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final. The first skier across the finish line in the final takes gold.

Rules and scoring

Moguls

Seven judges use a split scoring system with a maximum score of 30 points. Turns: 50percent; Jumps: 25percent; Speed 25percent. Each run is timed: speed counts in final score. Five judges evaluate a contestant's turns. Highest and lowest scores are discarded. Two judges concentrate on the jumps.

Aerials

Seven judges (20 percent - take-off, 50 percent - style and 30 percent for landing). For each jump, five judges award marks on take-off, execution and style. The highest and lowest marks are discarded, the three others are combined (21 pts maximum). The two other judges mark the landing (9pts maximum). Flight, style and landing marks are added up and multiplied by the value attached to the jump's degree of difficulty.

Important Dates

  • 1930s : Norwegians use jumps, tight turns and moguls as training aids.
  • 1950's : Norwegian Olympic gold medal Stein Eriksen develops the concept of aerials.
  • 1960s : In the US, so-called "hot dog" skiers perform increasingly hair-raising jumps.
  • 1966 : First competition in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire, US.
  • 1979 : International Ski Federation (FIS) accepts freestyle as an amateur sport.
  • 1980 : Freestyle World Cup founded.
  • 1986 : First official world championships held at Tignes in the French Alps.
  • 1988 : Freestyle gains access to the Olympic arena as a demonstration sport (moguls only).
  • 1992 : Mogul skiing appears as part of the official Olympic programme at Albertville, France.
  • 1994 : Mogul and aerial events both officially part of the Olympic programme at Lillehammer, Norway.

s grandes dates

  • 2010: Skicross gets set to make its debut at Vancouver.

Stars

Edgar Grospiron (FRA)

The first Olympic moguls champion when the sport made its debut in 1992. An extrovert, he failed to repeat his feat two years later at Lillehammer and settled for bronze. Moguls World Cup winner 1990, 1991 and 1992.

Jean-Luc Brassard (CAN)

Grospiron's great moguls rival in 1992, finishing third behind the Frenchman in 1992 but landing gold two years later in Lillehammer. Won the World Cup overall title in 1993, 1996 and 1997 and added world titles in 1993 and 1997. Since his fourth place at the Nagano Games, Brassard has failed to reach his previous levels. Picked up 34 wins on the World Cup circuit.

Eric Bergoust (USA)

His idea of a good time when he was a teenager was to throw himself off the roof onto piles of mattresses. A brilliant, fearless aerials performer, the American easily won the gold medal at Nagano in 1998 and the world championship title the following year. Credited with inventing the "propellor" technique, now widely adopted by other athletes.

Copyright 2008 Agence France-Presse.