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Big air in snowboarding and greater female participation at the Winter Olympics Games. Yeah baby! On Monday the International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved four new events for 2018 Pyeongchang, which it hopes will attract younger audiences and boost the number of women taking part in the games to record levels.

The new events are Big Air in snowboarding, mass start in speedskating, mixed doubles in curling and an Alpine skiing nations team event.

Meanwhile, the snowboard parallel slalom event has been dropped to make way for those skyward flying boarders. No doubt the Big Air contest will be a welcome addition to the already exciting halfpipe and slopestyle snowboarding programs, with competitors jumping and flipping their way to golden glory.

"The changes reflect the continued evolution of the Winter Olympic programme and build on the success of recent editions of the Games," the IOC said in a statement. "They also build on the reforms outlined in the Olympic Agenda 2020 which aim to create more flexibility in the programme of the Olympic Games."

The IOC received proposals for new events from International Federations (IFs), and these were considered against criteria of youth appeal; TV, media and general public interest; gender equality; and impact on events, infrastructure, operational cost and complexity. After a consultation and feedback process with IFs, the Organising Committee for Pyeongchang 2018  added the new events to the programme.

While Big Air will supercharge the snowboarding events, the other events are also expected to add excitement and entertainment for the Winter Olympic Games' audience. Mass start speedskating has the physical intensity of a short-track race on a long-track surface and has been on the World cup circuit from some years now. Mixed doubles in curling will see a male/female team compete with six stones instead of eight and the Alpine team event will involve teams of two men and two women competing in parallel slalom races. 

In response to the IOC decision, Pyeongchang Organising Committee President Yang-ho Cho said "IOC Olympic Agenda 2020 opened the door to more flexibility with the events and we believe that adding new events will make the 2018 Winter Games more innovative and open New Horizons, inspiring and inviting more participation in winter sports." 

We can't wait!

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