A record 109 gold medals are up for grabs at the Beijing Winter Olympics, including seven in events making their Olympic debut. The addition of these new events – many of which are mixed-gender competitions – provide athletes with some additional opportunities to win medals.
Mixed-gender events aren’t a novelty at the Olympics. One of the most popular Winter events – pairs figure skating – predates the Winter Games, having made its debut at the 1908 Summer Olympics in London.
However, the number of mixed-gender events added to the Olympic program has grown in recent years, with a record 18 mixed-gender events at the Tokyo Games, up from nine just four years earlier at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Ski jumping, snowboard cross and speed skating are among the disciplines that will introduce new mixed team competitions in Beijing.
Get Philly local news, weather forecasts, sports and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC Philadelphia newsletters.
Additionally, several individual events that have gained popularity in recent years will be premiering at the Olympics, including freeski big air and women’s monobob.
Here’s everything you need to know about the seven new events at the Beijing Winter Olympics.
Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics
Watch all the action from the Beijing Olympics live on NBC
How many sports are being contested at the 2022 Winter Olympics?
The Beijing Olympics will feature 109 events, including seven new ones, across 15 disciplines in seven winter sports. Here is a breakdown of the sports featured at the 2022 Winter Olympics:
- Bobsledding (bobsleigh and skeleton)
- Ice hockey
- Skating (figure skating, short track speed skating, and speed skating)
- Skiing (alpine, cross-country, freestyle, nordic combined, ski jumping, and snowboarding)
What are the new sports for the 2022 Winter Olympics?
In a sport defined by technological advantages and team collaboration, monobob gets back to the basics. This women-only event requires a single athlete to initiate and navigate the sled’s route. In addition, unlike other bobsled events where athletes have customized sleds, all monobob athletes will compete using the same standardized sled, all but eliminating technological advantages. The monobob rounds out the four-series Olympic bobsled programming including the two-person event (men and women) and the 4-person event (men only).
Mixed team ski jumping
Ski jumping has been a staple of every Winter Olympic Games, but only recently were women added to the program with women’s individual normal hill making its debut in Sochi in 2014. In Beijing, women will have a chance to compete for a second medal with the addition of the mixed team event.
Countries that qualify at least two men and two women individually will be eligible to compete in the team event, jumping in woman-man-woman-man order. Individual scores are added for a cumulative team score and the top eight teams from the first round will advance to the final round.
Freeski Big Air
An X-Games fan-favorite, Freeski Big Air is making its Olympic debut at Big Air Shougang – the world’s first permanent Big Air venue – in Beijing. Participants will hurtle down a slope, launch off a ramp and complete a series of gravity defying flips and tricks. They'll have three attempts on the same course with their lowest score being dropped, assuming they attempt a different trick each round.
This event will be contested for both men and women.
Mixed team snowboard cross
Mixed team snowboard cross has all the makings of a thrilling sports event - speed, comebacks and photo finishes. The event will lead off with a male athletes from each participating country competing in sets of four. Upon each man crossing the finish line, their female teammate’s starting gate will immediately open allowing a staggered start among the women to complete the exact same course. The first woman to cross the line wins gold for their country's team.
The Mixed Team Snowboard Cross made a splashy debut at the 2019 World Champions when American Lindsey Jacobellis came from behind to secure first for the U.S. alongside partner Mick Dierdorff.
Short track team relay
Short track speed skating relay teams will comprise of two men and two women from each competing country. Competitors will skate two legs at a time, with women starting first, then rotating with their male partners and repeating the order until 18 laps are covered.
The first leg is 2.5 laps and the second leg is two laps around the track for a total of 2,000 meters. Game over if an athlete falls? Not quite. A teammate of the same gender can tap in to complete that leg of the relay.
Freestyle Skiing: Mixed team aerials
Strategy is the name of the game in the mixed team aerials. Unlike most other mixed team events at the Winter Olympics, countries have some flexibility in choosing their three-person roster. Each team must include one man and one woman, but the third and final spot is up to the discretion of the country.
The team with the highest combined score for their aerial tricks wins gold.
What new sports are coming to the 2026 Olympics?
In June, the IOC announced the addition of an eighth sport to the 2026 Olympic programming – ski mountaineering. The sport involves a combination of skiing and hiking through mountain terrain.
The five mountaineering events expected to debut in Milan-Cortina are individual and sprint races for men and women and a mixed gender relay.
Who are the favorites to win medals in Monobob?
Canadian-American Kallie Humphries (Carlsbad, Calif.) and American Elana Meyers Taylor (Douglassville, Ga.) are both expected to contend for gold. Both are veteran bobsledders with three Olympic medals each to their name. They will each have two opportunities in Beijing to add to their medal count. Humphries, representing the U.S. on the Olympic stage for the first time since getting her American citizenship in early December, is seeking to earn her third gold medal and surpass former teammate Heather Moyse’s two gold medals.
Who are the favorites to win Olympic medals in mixed team ski jumping?
Germany, Norway and Slovenia are all considered front runners to field a gold-medal worthy team. The U.S. hasn’t posted a top-10 finish in any ski jumping event since 1984 and that isn’t expected to change in Beijing.
Who are the favorites to win a medal in Freeski Big Air?
Six years after a car accident left Colby Stevenson in a medically-induced coma, the New Hampshire native is ready to compete for gold in slopestyle and big air. On the women’s side, Eileen Gu, the world champion in the halfpipe and slopestyle, has a good chance of winning both events, as well big air.
However, the San Francisco native who has dual American and Chinese citizenship, will be representing China when she competes in Beijing.
Who are the favorites to win a medal in mixed team snowboard cross?
With rosters finalized in late January, the U.S. sits in good position to maintain its dominance in Olympic Snowboarding. Jacobellis is making her fifth Olympic appearance and will be seeking to return to the medal stand for the first time since winning silver in the individual cross at the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics.
Who are the favorites to win a medal in short track team relay?
Short track team relay will be one of the first events to dole out medals at the Winter Olympics and could see host-country China atop the podium. The Chinese are tied with Canada for the second-most Olympic medals in speed skating behind South Korea. Another outside contender is the Netherlands, looking to continue their success from PyeongChang in 2018 when they took gold in seven of 14 speed skating events.
Who are the favorites to win a medal in mixed team aerials?
China's women's team hold a record seven Olympic medals in the individual aerial event and they are expected to give the host country a strong advantage in the inaugural mixed event.