The Winter Youth Olympics new events make great debuts as they intrigue and thrill the athletes and spectators alike.
Lillehammer 2016 was a first for a host of Winter Youth Olympics new events, as they featured for the very first time at the Youth Games. For the organizers, the debuts appeared to make all the right noises, as athletes appeared to quite enjoy the thrill and competition of the new sports, and those watching delightedly drank it all in.
The particular events added to the programme for the second edition of the Winter Youth Olympics included the Cross-Country Cross in the Cross-Country Skiing event, new Snowboarding events, the Single Mixed Relay under the Biathlon, and the Mixed NOC Team Sprint under Speed Skating. Also featuring were the Slopestyle event under Freestyle Skiing, the Nordic Combined Mixed Team events, and the Monobob. In this review of the Winter Youth Olympics new events, we’ll touch upon each, and go through the final standings to give a rundown of how they unfolded.
The Cross-Country Cross (Day 2).
An intense sport combining shooting and cross-country skiing, this was one of the first events to feature at Lillehammer 2016. Moa Lundgren of Sweden and Magnus Kim of Korea were the winners on the day in the women’s and men’s events, respectively.
Read more about the event in our report of the Cross-Country Cross results on Day 2.
Snowboarding had two new events featuring this year, the Snowboard Cross and the Team Ski-Snowboard Cross. Both events turned out to be quite action-packed with close, emotional finishes in the first, and a bit of a controversy in the other.
New photos from Snowboard cross at #Lillehammer2016
— Lillehammer2016 (@lillehammer2016) February 15, 2016
Read up on more details about the Snowboarding events at the official webpage here.
Snowboard Cross (Day 4).
Frenetic races to the finish, while navigating the various turns, banks and jumps made for an exciting set of matches at the Snowboard Cross on Day 4. Jake Vedder of the US won each event on his way to gold among the men, with Dickson (AUS) and Pietrzykowski (GER) taking silver and bronze, respectively. Among the women, an emotional Manon Petit revealed that she rode “for Paris”. That resilient spirit perhaps helped her edge out the others in a close win, while Hediger (SUI) finished second, and Carpano (ITA) took third place on the podium.
Team Ski-Snowboard Cross (Day 5).
With each team consisting of both male and female skiers and snowboarders, and the added twist of an allowance for multinational teams, this new relay event promised intriguing team-play, great camaraderie and good fun while competing. Germany made a shocking comeback to win the event, when their exit in the first semifinal was overturned in a re-run, after a delay was noted in the opening of their gate in the final leg.
The re-run reversed the fortunes, and moods, of Germany and Australia, as the former clinched first place this time while the Aussies failed to make the top two to advance.
Biathlon – Single Mixed Relay (Day 6).
The event shares much with the Mixed Relay, except that a team comprises of only two biathletes – one man and one woman, with each skiing twice. Biathletes are generally prone, and open, to innovative experimentation with events, and it was no different here either. The competitors had to adjust to the interval between laps as they waited for the relays, choosing to warm up on the spot, adjust their rifle sights, or fire themselves up in silence. China won a surprise gold in a photo-finish ending, barely ahead of disappointed hosts Norway by a mere 0.2 of a second. Russia took third with a time of 41:50.3, finishing behind the Norwegians by 14.7 seconds.
Watch the full replay of the Biathlon Single Mixed Relay on Day 6 here.
Speed Skating – Mixed NOC Team Sprint (Day 6).
It was a day of firsts at the Speed Skating event on Day 6, with the debut of a thriller from among the Winter Youth Olympics new events, and a first-ever medal (and gold at that!) for Mongolia in the Winter Games. With 13 teams of mixed nationalities competing on the track, “Team 6” made up of Buyantogtokh of Mongolia, Bonazza from Italy, Hanyang from China and Korea’s Woong finished first, with a time of 1:57.85. It made for great viewing, as the athletes bonded and trained together, trying to overcome language and cultural barriers in time to fit together as seamlessly as possible for the event.
Among the other medalists, “Team 9”, made up of Kleba (US), Gasecka (POL), Dul (NED) and Mukhamadeyev (KAZ) won silver, finishing at 1:58.80. “Team 10”, consisting of Johansson (NOR), Hogas (ROM), Cristelli (ITA) and Jeske (GER) won bronze, with a time of 1:58.87.
Nordic Combined – Mixed Team Events (Day 8).
An exciting mixed team relay sport, the Nordic combined mixed team NH/3×3.3km features five athletes in each team – two ski-jumpers, two cross-country skiers (a man and a woman in both cases), and one Nordic Combined athlete. The event begins with a round of ski-jumping, before progressing to a cross-country relay race with three legs of 3.3km each. Thanks to a strong showing by Yakunina (Cross-Country) and Ivanov (Nordic), the Russians won by a comfortable margin of 21.1 seconds despite finishing fourth in ski-jumping earlier.
Norwegian skier Hegdal was impressive, too, leading his team from fourth at the start of the final lap, to finish second at 26:38.0, just 0.4 of a second ahead of Germany. The Slovenians, however, would be quite disappointed, having led until the second last leg, and eventually losing out ona spot on the podium by a devastating 0.1 of a second to an ecstatic German team.
Freestyle Skiing – Ski Slopestyle (Day 8).
This is another crowd-puller among the Winter Youth Olympics new events, where skiers turn on the flash and compete to determine who can make the best use of the tricked-out course, full of jumps, rails, hits and other enablers. They get three runs to showcase their creativity, technique and daredevilry, where the one awarded the most points by the panel wins.
Prusakova of Russia won the women’s event with a score of 77.00, and France’s Barin (72.80) and Rowlands from Britain (67.80), who already won gold in the Ski Halfpipe, were the other two on the podium. Among the men, Ruud of Norway scored 89.20 to win a gold for the hosts. Among the other medalists, the US’ Hall took silver with 87.40, while New Zealand’s Bilous finished third with a score of 86.00.
You can watch the full replay of the Ski Slopestyle Final on Day 8 here.
Monobob (Day 9).
Debuting at a major sporting event for the very first time, the curious Monobob was quite the success, featuring incredibly tight races in both the men’s and the women’s events. Replacing the two-man Bobsleigh, the Monobob was introduced essentially with a view to make the sport more accessible and popular. The stripped-down, one-man bobs used in the event were also identical, and allocated randomly to the competitors, so they compete purely on skill. Further, the bobs were rotated after the first heat, where the bob with the slowest time was assigned to the winner, making things more interesting in the next round.
Germany’s Nolte won the gold in the women’s run, beating Austrian Schulte by a mere 0.24 of a second, with third placed Purchall of Britain an amazing 0.02 of a second behind. Incredibly, the men’s run was closer still. Germany’s Jannusch won by a whisper, 0.15 of a second ahead of Russia’s Ivanov, while Norway’s Olsen missed out on the silver by just 0.09 of a second, finishing behind Ivanov.
Run through the results of all Winter Youth Olympics new events, as well as others, at the official results page of Lillehammer 2016 here. Also, don’t miss out on the highlights of events, as well as full replays of some of them, at the official YouTube channel of the Olympics!