Could we actually be seeing Jenny Jones and Jamie Nicholls compete for Great Britain at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi? According to the latest announcement from the IOC it seems we could be, as slopestyle moves a step closer towards inclusion at the Games. The snowboard format is one of several new events they're "looking favourably" on, but first they want to take a look at how it gets on under the organization of FIS (until recently, FIS only handled qualification for halfpipe, leaving slopestyle to core events like the TTR). If, as expected, it goes through, then park riding will soon be gatecrashing living rooms across the world. Here's the official skinny:
The Executive Board (EB) of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) today announced that it is looking favourably at the inclusion of the following events in the programme of the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi in 2014:
- Women’s Ski Jumping
- Ski Halfpipe (Men and Women)
- Ski Slopestyle (Men and Women)
- Snowboard Slopestyle (Men and Women)
- Biathlon Mixed Team Relay
- Figure Skating Team Event
- Luge Team Relay
Before taking a final decision, the EB said it would like to consider the outcome of the respective World Championships which will take place during the winter season in 2011.
The EB has empowered the IOC President to take the final decision on its behalf.
The IOC Olympic Programme Commission analysed all the requests put forward by the International Sports Federations based on established criteria, and submitted its findings to the EB. The key positive factors included whether the changes would increase universality, gender equity and youth appeal, and in general add value to the Games. Other considerations included the cost of infrastructure, and the impact on the overall quota and the number of events.
That last bit about 'youth appeal' certainly sounds like a no-brainer. Slopestyle represents where kids (and indeed snowboarding) is currently at far better than halfpipe and boardercross. Should the likes of Jamie Nicholls and Jenny Jones decide to go for it, the move will provide Britain with genuine medal contenders that could shake up future funding for the sport in the UK. Big news then.