The snowboarding equivalent of the event was already included for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, and was a clear fan favourite. It was also particularly memorable for Team GB as Billy Morgan swept up a bronze medal.
British Ski & Snowboard have welcomed the move, saying in a press release: “With Great Britain already home to a host of world class freestyle skiers competing successfully in Big Air events at World Cups and X-Games, there is the realistic proposition of Team GB vying for more freestyle skiing medals in four years’ time.”
BSS Performance Director Dan Hunt added: “Big Air was such a success for the snowboarders – and particularly for Team GB with Billy Morgan’s medal in PyeongChang – so it’s not a huge surprise to see it included in the freestyle skiing programme but it’s certainly great news to have it confirmed.
“[James] Woodsy [Woods] has won X-Games gold in Big Air while Katie Summerhayes, Izzy Atkin and Madi Rowlands have all placed in the top 10 at World Cup level so we already have some genuine talent in the field and there’s more coming through the ranks via the Park & Pipe pathway.
“That said, there’s been a lot of freestyle skiers concentrating on slopestyle recently since Big Air was not in the programme for PyeongChang.
“Realistically, Big Air’s inclusion for Beijing means we’re going to be seeing more of the best freestyle skiers competing at World Cup events over the next four years but I’m confident that our athletes will be consistently challenging for podium positions.”
"There is the realistic proposition of Team GB vying for more freestyle skiing medals in four years’ time"
Interestingly, other new sports for the Beijing 2022 Games will include mixed team events for Snowboard Cross, Freestyle Skiing Aerials and Ski Jumping, while telemark missed out on being included in the Games.
The IOC announcement means there will be 109 events on the Beijing 2022 program – 51 for men, 46 for women and 12 mixed events – with the highest overall gender balance at an Olympic Winter Games.
The inclusion of Ski Big Air continues the IOC's clear commitment to action sports, and to introducing sports that they believe will both capture a younger audience and ensure the longevity of the Olympic Games, which has infamously been struggling of late to find host cities. Surfing, BMX and Skateboarding are all ready for their debut at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, and now we can't wait to see Ski Big Air in 2022 as well.
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