Will Slopestyle Snowboarding be in the 2014 Olympics?

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After snowboarding’s record-setting viewership during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, advocates of the sport are taking advantage of this opportunity to push for inclusion of new snowboarding-related events, including Slopestyle and Team SBX, at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

In Slopestyle snowboarding, participants barrel down a steep hill that includes a series of high ramps. Success is measured by the amount of amplitude the snowboarder gets in his or her jumps, as well as the impressiveness and technical skill of the tricks performed in the air. It’s similar to skiing events that are already included in the Games.

Snowboarding advocates are also pushing for the inclusion of team snowboard cross. Snowboard cross has been in the games since 2006, but fans of the sport argue that team snowboard cross can be just as popular and maybe even more exciting than the singles-oriented version.

Of course, getting included in the Olympics is not an easy task, and advocates of these events’ inclusion face hurdles that few have been able to overcome. For one thing, in order for a sport to be included in the games, it must have already been featured in two world championships overseen by an IOC-sanctioned governing body. While these sports have not yet been included in international championships, participants from the U.S., Canada, and other countries have been petitioning the FIS to include them in the next two world championships, which would help these sports to fit the bill for the Olympics.

If the FIS approves of including these sports at the world championships, the next step will be to petition the IOC for inclusion in the Olympics. This decision is expected to come sometime in 2011. After the huge ratings success for snowboarding in 2010, many feel that the IOC simply can’t afford not to approve these events. However, the IOC is notoriously protective of its games, so the chances might not be all that great.

All of this is in an effort among the snowboarding community to continue to differentiate its sport from skiing and to bring it to equal footing with other longstanding sports. Snowboarding may be a relatively recent sport when compared to its counterparts, but participants worldwide far outnumber, say, figure skaters or ski jumpers. In light of this fact, many feel that giving snowboarding more time in the bright lights is the perfect chance for the Olympic committee to continue raising the stature of its event.

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