Over 14,000 spectators packed downtown Denver for a FIS World Cup big air snowboarding event in 2011. The USSA is proposing both big air and team snowboardcross to FIS to take to the IOC in hopes of admission to the 2018 Olympics. (USSA-Tom Kelly)
BARCELONA, Spain (June 3) – On the heels of the successful debut of new Olympic events like slopestyle snowboarding, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) is proposing the addition of two new Olympic snowboarding events. The USSA will make its formal proposal to the International Ski Federation (FIS), the sport’s governing body, when its entire membership meets June 1-6 in Barcelona for its FIS Congress for the inclusion of big air snowboarding and team snowboardcross. Big air has been contested at the FIS World Championships since 2003 while SBX has been an integral and popular Olympic event since 2006.
The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association has submitted an initiative to the International Ski Federation asking for FIS to propose the addition of big air snowboarding and team snowboardcross as new Olympic events to the International Olympic Committee.
Big air snowboarding has been a part of the FIS World Championships since 2003. Snowboardcross has been one of the most popular Olympic events since 2006.
Big air has also been one of the premier events at X Games for many years. Team snowboardcross made its World Championship debut in 2013 and has been a regular part of the FIS World Cup and Sprint U.S. Grand Prix, including a World Cup stop in downtown Denver in 2011 that attracted over 14,000 fans.
The proposal has multi-national support, including approval of the FIS Snowboard Committee.
The inclusion of SBX would come from within the same athlete pool as presently exists, while it is anticipated that most of the big air field would come from slopestyle athletes.
Action sports events like halfpipe, slopestyle, big air and snowboardcross are among the most popular with youth and have played a vital role in driving broadcast viewership worldwide.
Tiger Shaw, President and CEO, U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association
It’s vital that we keep our sports fresh and relevant to youth. We clearly saw the global benefits with the additional new events in Sochi. This is yet another step to keep the Olympics in sync with what excites kids in sport today and to build the brand of FIS.
Jeremy Forster, Snowboarding and Freeskiing Program Director, U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association
America has long been the epicenter of action sports. We’ve continually taken a leadership position in pushing new events in the past with SBX, slopestyle and the new freeskiing events. We have strong multi-national support for this initiative and are optimistic that FIS and IOC will work together to get these events onto the program for 2018.
Alex Deibold,USA, Olympic SBX bronze medalist
Team SBX would be a great addition to our sport. It adds a whole new dynamic and makes snowboardcross even more exciting. There is also the potential to have mixed gender racing which would be something totally new and different, and a step in the direction of equality. In an individual sport it adds a much-needed team dynamic, helping athletes work together when they normally would not. Most importantly to me, it is fun, and that is the reason we all started snowboarding.
Mark McMorris, Canada, Olympic slopestyle bronze medalist
It’s a good move for snowboarding to have a third freestyle aspect added to the games. It’s another opportunity to win more medals and push the limits as to what is possible on a snowboard.
Sage Kotsenburg, USA, Olympic slopestyle champion
As we have all seen with the addition of halfpipe into the Olympics, it became a viewer favorite. When slopestyle was added, it was also one of the favorites with the third most streams of the entire games and one of the most watched sports. With big air, it would bring even more snowboarding to the world and, if we do it right it, would benefit snowboarding and the Olympics.
I would actually be really excited about big air being in the Olympics. The first and foremost important thing I would like to see happen would be figuring out the best format that would benefit the riders and the viewers.
Lindsey Jacobellis, USA, Olympic SBX silver medalist
I would love for there to be a team SBX event to show how diverse our sport is, as well as how much fun it is to watch.
If it were to be added it would give us another chance for a medal. Our sport has so many uncontrolled variables, so the more chances we get the better odds for a medal to come home for Team USA.
We have teammates but we race individually. So once the gate drops the whole ‘teammate’ is out the door. If we were to have a team race, there would be strategy involved and we could build a different dynamic to the sport. Team SBX would bring a whole new level of excitement if it was added to the Olympics.
Alex Pullin, Australia, two-time snowboardcross World Champion
The team event is a great way to get the most out of a course built for FIS World Cup, World Championships and Olympics. Not only is it a way to give the riders more opportunities to race, but more so to get the most out of a track with a different style of racing, rather than a double event. It¹s great for spectators and at the end of the day its more racing and action. I support the idea to have the team event as an Olympic discipline in 2018.
Dominique Maltais, Canada, two-time snowboardcross Olympic medalist These two displines have a lot of potential. Snowboardcross has been one of the most watched sports in three Olympics. Having team snowboardcross as an offical discipline at the Olympics would give us more visibility, helping athletes to have better sponsors, making our sport grow and the providing an opportunity for youth to see the team spirit in our sport.
USSA PROPOSAL TO FIS CONGRESS
The inclusion of snowboarding has provided FIS and its National Ski and Snowboard Associations with a youth-oriented, innovative platform which has led to exciting new Olympic events, attracted new competitors and inspired new participants, and provided valuable new opportunities for sponsors, organizers, and media partners. It has also delivered high numbers of spectators and TV viewers – particularly at the Olympic Games – and has provided strong exposure to winter sports to a young audience.
Snowboarding defines itself through progression, and FIS has been a leader in establishing the most progressive events in its World Championships and, ultimately, the Olympic Games. This has added to the FIS brand, and established it as an innovative, youth-oriented international federation, which has been recognized by the International Olympic Committee as well as the media in the mission to adapt the Olympic program to be relevant to today's youth and markets.
Snowboarding continues to progress, with events like big air and team SBX, which have been well- received by athletes, organizers, spectators and media. Team SBX has provided a true national team event, which is lacking in the sport at the Olympic level. And Big Air has been a spectacular centerpiece to the World Championship since 2003.
We respectfully request that FIS continue to foster the progression of snowboarding, and formally request to the International Olympic Committee the inclusion of snowboarding's most relevant events in terms of youth, media, broadcast, commercial and spectator interest into the Olympic Games.