Every four years, the Winter Olympics are held as a myriad of sports are demonstrated in a variety of events and competitions.
Top-level athletes from all over the world unify in a single host city to compete in their sport to show their talents and aim for the podium.
Let’s take a look at what the sports look like this year at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, how they compare to the past and what the future could hold.
How many sports will be held at the Winter Olympics this year?
There will be 15 sports held at the Winter Olympics in Beijing this year.
The 15 Winter Olympic sports in 2022 are bobsled, luge, skeleton, ice hockey, figure skating, speed skating, short track speed skating, curling, alpine skiing, freestyle skiing, snowboarding, biathlon, cross-country skiing, ski jumping and Nordic combined.
These sports are broken up into three categories:
1. Ice sports
2. Alpine, skiing and snowboarding events
3. Nordic events
Which sports fall under the “ice sports” category?
Ice sports include:
- Bobsled – women’s monobob, two-man, two woman, four-man
- Luge – men’s singles, women’s singles, mixed doubles, mixed team relay
- Skeleton – men’s, women’s
- Ice hockey – men’s, women’s
- Figure skating – men’s singles, women’s singles, pairs, team, ice dancing
- Speed skating
- Short track speed skating – 500m, 1000m, 1500m and relays
- Curling – men’s, women’s, mixed doubles
Which sports fall under the “alpine, skiing and snowboarding” category?
Alpine, skiing and snowboarding events include:
- Alpine skiing – downhill, super-G, giant slalom, slalom, super combined, mixed team
- Freestyle skiing – aerials, moguls, ski cross, ski halfpipe, ski slopestyle
- Snowboarding – parallel giant slalom, halfpipe, snowboard cross, big air, slopestyle
Which sports fall under the “Nordic events” category?
Nordic events include:
- Biathlon – individual, sprint, pursuit, mass start, relay events
- Cross-country skiing – individual sprint, team sprint, freestyle, pursuit, classical, relays
- Ski jumping
- Nordic combined
What sports no longer make an appearance?
Military patrol was once a medal sport in 1924 and a demonstration sport in 1928, 1936 and 1948. The sport was a precursor to biathlon and consisted of three sports combined: cross-country skiing, ski mountaineering and rifle shooting. The sport was never a medal sport again after its 1924 debut during the Chamonix Games.
There was also a subset of men’s figure skating called men’s special figures, which debuted once and only once in 1908 during the Summer Games in London.
Alpinism was also a sport during the years 1924, 1932 and 1936. However, there was technically no actual competition, as medals were awarded for the “most notable alpinism feat accomplished during the previous four years.”
What sports are new to the Winter Olympics this year?
While the list of sports has not changed since the addition of skeleton in 2002, there will be seven new winter Olympic events held at the Beijing Games this year. These events include:
- Women’s monobob (bobsled)
- Freestyle skiing big air (men’s)
- Freestyle skiing big air (women’s)
- Mixed team events in short track speed skating team relay
- Mixed team events in ski jumping
- Mixed team events in freestyle skiing aerials
- Mixed team events in snowboard cross
What sports have been demonstration sports?
A demonstration sport is played to promote the event. It is not technically a competition because it does not result in medals. Demonstration sports are held with the premonition that the sport might eventually become a medal sport.
Here are some sports that have been demonstration sports over the years:
- 1928 – Skijoring: Skiing behind horses
- 1948 – Winter pentathlon: Cross-country and downhill skiing, with pistols, fencing and horse riding
- 1932 – Dog sled racing
- 1932, 1988 – Curling
- 1936, 1964 – Ice stock sport: German variant to curling
- 1928, 1936, 1948 – Military patrol
- 1952 – Bandy: Hockey with a ball
- 1988 – Short track speed skating
- 1992 – Speed skiing
- 1988 – Freestyle skiing: Aerials
- 1988, 1992 – Freestyle skiing: Moguls
- 1988 – Freestyle skiing: Ski ballet
And out of these demonstration sports, curling, short track speed skating, freestyle skiing (aerials) and freestyle skiing (moguls) became official medal sports.
What are some potential sports for the future?
The current sports that are lobbying to be included in the Winter Games:
- Team alpine skiing
- Ski mountaineering
- Winter triathlon: running, mountain biking, cross-country skiing (all on snow)
- Telemark skiing