Sport in the Spotlight: Freestyle skiing

Sport in the Spotlight: Freestyle skiing

01 February 2018 / 15:26

Freestyle skiing debuted at Albertville in 1992 with moguls, but it actually appeared the Olympics four years earlier.

However, it was purely a demonstration sport in Calgary, with moguls, aerials and ballet events on display to entertain the fans.

Aerials became a medal event at Lillehammer 1994, ski ballet being dropped from the schedule.

Vancouver 2010 marked the first year of ski cross, while halfpipe and slopestyle were added to the roster in Sochi.

The USA and Canada lead the way in medal counts, with 21 and 18 podium finishes respectively, including eight titles each.

The Schedule

February 9

Women’s moguls qualification – 10:00-10:45 (01:00-01:45 UK time)

Men’s moguls qualification – 11:45-12:30 (02:00-02:45 UK time)

February 11

Women’s moguls final - 19:30-22:40 (10:30-13:40 UK time)

February 12

Men’s moguls final - 19:30-22:40 (10:30-13:40 UK time)

February 15

Women’s aerials qualification – 20:00-21:15 (11:00-12:15 UK time)

February 16

Women’s aerials finals - 20:00-21:20 (11:00-12:20 UK time)

February 17

Women’s slopestyle qualification – 10:00-11:40 (01:00-02:40 UK time)

Women’s slopestyle finals – 13:00-14:35 (04:00-05:35 UK time)

Men’s aerials qualification – 20:00-21:15 (11:00-12:15 UK time)

February 18

Men’s slopestyle qualification – 10:00-12:05 (01:00-03:05 UK time)

Men’s slopestyle finals – 13:15-14:50 (04:15-05:50 UK time)

Men’s aerials finals 20:00-21:20 (11:00-12:20 UK time)

February 19

Women’s halfpipe qualification – 10:00-11:25 (01:00-02:25 UK time)

February 20

Women’s halfpipe finals – 10:30-11:55 (01:30-02:55 UK time)

Men’s halfpipe qualification – 13:00-14:45 (04:00-05:45 UK time)

February 21

Men’s ski cross seeding round – 11:30-12:15 (02:30-03:15 UK time)

Men’s ski-cross finals 13:15-14:45 (04:15-05:45 UK time)

February 22

Men’s halfpipe finals – 11:30-13:00 (02:30-04:00 UK time)

February 23

Women’s ski cross seeding round – 11:30-12:15 (02:30-03:15 UK time)

Women’s ski cross finals 13:15-14:55 (04:15-05:45 UK time)

How Team GB has fared in the past

Team GB has sent freestyle skiing representatives to every Games since the sport made its competitive debut in 1992.

However, the wait goes on for an elusive first medal to be brought back to Britain in the discipline.

But with the likes of James Woods and Izzy Atkin spearheading an 11-strong party in PyeongChang, 2018 could be the year that duck is broken.


James Woods

Woods is one of the world’s leading freestyle skiers and has sterling pedigree on the biggest stage of all – he finished fifth in Sochi in the slopestyle four years ago with an injured hip.

His experience and talent make him one of Britain’s best medal hopes.

He has won a multitude of medals on the World Championship and World Cup stages and goes into the Games in good form following a fourth-place finish in last month’s World Cup in Aspen. 

Izzy Atkin

Still just 19, Atkin has a long and bright future ahead of her in the slopestyle, and she could really establish herself among the world’s elite with a memorable display in South Korea.

In 2017, Atkin became the first British woman to win a slopestyle World Cup, triumphing in Silvaplana. She also claimed World Championships bronze in March and Winter X-Games silver just last week.

Lloyd Wallace

Wallace’s path to PyeongChang is a remarkable one. A training accident last August left the 22-year-old in a coma, with all thoughtd of representing his country in South Korea pushed aside.

But an inspirational road to recovery since then has resulted in the aerial skier regaining full health and fitness and becoming part of the party hoping to do Britain proud, at his debut Games.

He follows in the footsteps of both his parents, who represented Team GB at Olympic level in the sport. 

Katie Summerhayes

Summerhayes enjoyed a solid Sochi appearance four years ago, finishing seventh in the slopestyle.

The following year, she became the first British woman to win a freestyle World Championship medal after claiming silver in Kreischberg, Austria.

She is in good form, too, having won silver in the World Cup this season in Stubai.

Who is the competition?

Maddie Bowman

The defending Olympic halfpipe champion, American Bowman is no stranger to the top of the podium.

As well as her Olympic triumph, she has won five SuperPipe golds at the X Games and is fourth in the World Cup standings.

British hopes in the halfpipe, Molly Summerhayes and Rowan Cheshire, will have their work cut out to stop the 24-year-old. 

David Wise

Another all-conquering American on the halfpipe, Wise won World Championship gold in 2012 and claimed the Olympic title in Sochi two years later.

The 27-year-old also has four X Games SuperPipe titles under his belt and currently sits second behind compatriot Alex Ferreira atop the World Cup standings.

They are just two of a wealth of American talent in the discipline, with British hopes resting with Murray Buchan, Alexander Glavatsky-Yeadon and Peter Speight. 

Jennie-Lee Burmansson

The Swedish starlet is just 15 but won slopestyle bronze at the X Games earlier this year and is currently top of the World Cup rankings by a distance.

One to watch out for now, and for years to come. 

Sandra Naeslund

The 21-year-old is the current World Ski Cross champion after triumphing in 2017 in Sierra Nevada and has kicked on from an already impressive fifth place finish in Sochi.

She is dominating the World Cup standings this time around, too, and is undoubtedly the frontrunner for the title, based on form.

Sportsbeat 2018 

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