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Le otto nuove discipline olimpiche di Sochi 2014 05.02.14

Il programma olimpico invernale di Sochi 2014 prevede otto nuove discipline, qui raccontate dallo Smithsonian Magazine. Si va dal salto con gli sci femminile alla specialità half-pipe nello sci freestyle.

Team Ice Skating

The team ice skating competition has been skewered by some critics as an obvious ploy for increased ratings. At best, the committee hopes that adding a collaborative twist to a sport that’s long been about individual accolades produces the same kind of drama that team gymnastics is known for. With the new format, chosen representatives from each of the 10 participating nations will compete in a short program and free skate in men’s singles, women’s singles, pairs and ice dancing. Medals are awarded in order of the highest team score, a total that's accumulated through points earned during each of the judged programs. [...]

Men's and Women's Slopestyle Snowboarding and Skiing

[...] Like the once-maligned half-pipe event, slopestyle rose to prominence as a competitive Winter X Games event. Athletes are scored on style and the technical precision of the jumps and tricks they're able to pull off. [...]

Men's and Women's Parallel Slalom Snowboard

[...] Parallel slalom pits two competitors in a race to see who can best maneuver through a series of gates, or poles. It is similar to the giant slalom, which has been a part of the winter games since 1998. Snowboarders, however, consider the course trickier than the lengthier giant slalom because the spacing between flags is tighter. [...]

Ski Half-pipe

Like their snowboarding brethren before them, half-pipe skiers will now get to show the world the kind of twisting mid-air moves that can be pulled off on a vert ramp. Though the tricks are similar, skiers can use their equipment to better maintain speed and launch higher than what’s doable with a snowboard. This allows the most skilled athletes to execute a greater number of tricks in each jump. Competitors often practice on half-pipes equipped with airbags to cushion bad falls.

Women's Ski Jump

It's been a long time coming, but women will finally jump. Ski jumping, which involves skiing down a take-off ramp before launching into a long trajectory, was the only Olympic discipline to not include women-up until now. In 2005, Gian Franco Kasper, who was then president of the International Ski Federation and a member of the IOC, was uncomfortable with how landing the deft-defying stunt would impact women's bodies, stating that the sport "seems not to be appropriate for ladies from a medical point of view." It took a gender discrimination lawsuit and other organized efforts on behalf of the top competing athletes to pressure the Olympic committee to relent. One of the plaintiffs, 16-time American ski jumping champion Lindsey Van is considered the favorite to stand atop the podium.

Luge Team Relay

Luge organizers have figured out a way to apply a track-and-field-style wrinkle to an event where sled riders hurl down an icy pipe track at speeds of nearly 100 mph. Once the first athlete in a mixed-gender relay team (men's singles, women's singles and men's doubles) taps an overhead touchpad hanging over the finish line, the starting gate opens for the next teammate to slide down the track. After the four-person sequence is done, the national team with the fastest time wins.

Biathlon Mixed Relay

[...] The teams, featuring two women and two men, are tasked with cross-country skiing lengths of at least 6 kilometers while shooting rifles at targets at the 2 and 4-kilometer marks, according to the International Biathlon Union.