The IOC Just Approved Big Air Snowboarding for the 2018 Olympics in South Korea
The IOC just announced that Big Air snowboarding will debut as an Olympic sport in the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The new event was approved along and three others including mass start in speedskating, curling mixed doubles, and a team slalom skiing event, based on factors including, "youth appeal, TV and media interest, gender equality and infrastructure and operational cost and complexity," according to a statement from the IOC, which is sure to ignite the they-need-us-more-than-we-need-them debate in the snowboard community. "The changes reflect the continued evolution of the Winter Olympic program and build on the success of recent editions of the games," the statement continued.
Big Air Skiing was also proposed, but did not win IOC approval. Snowboard parallel slalom was dropped to make room for the four new events.
We reached out to US Snowboarding Director, Jeremy Forster, at USASA with questions about the inclusion of the event and how the qualifying process will look. A lot of details are still being sussed out, and we’ll update this story as new information comes out.
How long has Big Air been in the running to be a new Olympic sport?
Big Air was proposed and supported by FIS as a potential Olympic event during the 2014 FIS Congress.
What will the qualifying process be like, compared to slopestyle and halfpipe qualifiers?
Likely it will be similar, although many details still need to be determined regarding Olympic Nations Quota, Individual Athlete Eligibility, Selection Process, etc. There appears to be consensus that the riders that compete in Big Air should come from the riders that are already competing in slopestyle and/or halfpipe at the Olympics, and avoid establishing a specialized Big Air rider pool.
How big will the actual Big Air jump be?
Not sure of any specifics regarding jump details for 2018.