The International Olympic Committee have announced that a Big Air event will be added to the program for the 2018 games in PyeongChang, Korea.
The IOC board, who oversee all things Olympic, sat on Monday this week, and have now announced that Big Air, along with a team downhill skiing event, mixed couples curling, and a mass-start speed skating race will be added to the roster in three years time.
So, what does this mean for snowboarding? Well, it’s excellent news for Team GB for starters. A Big Air contest is all about nailing your biggest trick on an absolute monster kicker, which plays right into the hands of a whole host of athletes from Great Britain.
Billy Morgan is the only person on the planet to have landed a Quad Cork flip (now popularly called The Gish), and teen Katie Ormerod, who only just missed out on the Sochi games last year, is one of only a few female snowboarders to have a Double Cork in her locker.
Furthermore, the shit-or-bust style of Big Air may also work well for fellow Brit Aimee Fuller, who could focus on landing her double back flip off the mammoth booter.
But before people start thinking we’re a nation of one-hit-wonders, remember that we’ve also got some big Slope Style hitters, including Jamie Nicholls and James ‘Woodsy’ Woods on skis. In fact, some would even argue that Ormerod could trouble the podium in both Big Air and Slope Style in 2018, such is the strength of her rail game.
Lesley McKenna, the Programme Manager for GB Park and Pipe Team said “We have a very strong group of Big Air riders and feel that the addition of this event will mean more GB riders being able to challenge for the top spots.”
The inclusion of these new events comes at the cost of another snowboarding event. The IOC called time on snowboard parallel slalom. Sochi 2014 was the last time the five ringed circus will welcome snowboarders in Lycra, at least in an official event.
This seems like a victory for freestyle, and the skate and surf heritage of the sport over the highly competitive world of spandex, hard boots and preposterous binding angles.