Vladimir Lebedev —member of Russia's National Freestyle Ski Team, bronze medal winner at the 2006 Olympic Games in Torino, Sochi 2014 Ambassador: «For me, freestyle is what life is about. I pin a lot of hopes on the Games in Sochi. As a result of these Games, we will have new modern training grounds in this country. Nobody will ask you "What is it" any more when you talk about freestyle».
Freestyle skiing was a demonstration event at the Olympic Winter Games of 1988 in Calgary, Canada. Mogul skiing on bumpy terrain was added as an official medal event at the Olympic Winter Games of 1992 in Albertville, France. The aerials event was added for the Winter Olympics of 1994 in Lillehammer, while ski cross had its debut at the Olympic Winter Games of 2010 in Vancouver.
Freestyle in Russia
Freestyle skiing first appeared in Russia in the 1970s. The first national competition was held in the south of Moscow near the village of Gorki in February 1986, just one year after the establishment of an independent USSR Freestyle Skiing Federation.
Freestyle as it is
There are three events for men and women in the Olympic Freestyle program: moguls, aerials and ski cross. 6 sets of medals are awarded for freestyle events.
In Mogul, skiers race down a course over a series of bumps or moguls. Each athlete is required to perform two tricks and jumps. The Olympic format includes a one-run elimination round followed by a one-run final of 16 to 20 skiers. Competitors receiving the highest score for their tricks and jumps in the final round are declared winners. Scores are determined by judges who evaluate the quality of a skier’s tricks, and the quality and difficulty of the jumps. Judges also give points for speed according to a special formula.
The Olympic aerial competition consists of a two-jump qualifying stage followed by a two-jump final. The combined scores from the two jumps determine 12 athletes qualified for the final. Scores from the qualification round are not counted in the finals. Competitors are judged on jump takeoff (20%), jump form (50%) and landing (30%).
Ski cross consists of several rounds of competition. In the qualifying stage, athletes race down a course approximately 1000 meters long with turns and obstacles. 32 athletes with the best times are then divided into groups of four and compete to determine who proceeds to the next round of competition. The top two competitors in each group then move on to the medal round.
- The standard length of mogul skis is typically 180cm for men and 170cm for women. For aerials, the standard ski length for both men and women is 160cm. Ski cross skis are similar to those used in the Super Giant Slalom.
- Ski poles are used to aid the skier in accelerating, turning and maintaining balance.
- In moguls the color of knee pads often contrasts with that of a ski suit in order to draw the judges’ attention to the skier’s expertise.
- Ski boots should provide sufficient support to allow an athlete to withstand the force of impact.
- The helmet is made of hard plastic, protecting the head and preventing serious head injuries in both aerials and moguls.
Freestyle in Sochi
At the Olympic Winter Games of 2014 in Sochi, freestyle skiing events will be held to the west of Rosa Khutor Plateau on the Aibga Ridge, at the X-treme Park “Rosa Khutor”. Excellent snow cover, together with special tracks for freestyle moguls, aerials and ski cross, are certain to make this 8,000 seat facility a permanent venue for world-class events in future.
The facility was commissioned in 2012 for test competitions.