What is it?
Freestyle skiing combines skiing and acrobatics, and is one of the most popular Winter Olympic disciplines. There are a total of 13 events, with the International Olympic Committee adding three new categories in 2018: big air for men and women and a mixed team aerials event.
The most popular styles of freestyle skiing are aerials and moguls.
Aerials has regularly produced moments of Olympic magic. In Sochi 2004, 29-year-old Australian underdog David Norris needed something special if he was going to go home with a medal. The legend casually pulled a quadruple twisting triple flip out of the bag, securing a score of 110.41 and the silver medal.
Our personal favorite trick is Jeret ‘Speedy’ Peterson’s signature move, the ‘Hurricane’ jump; a triple backflip with five twists.
Moguls are bumps on the downward slope of the ski track. Mogul skiing is a timed run on a heavily moguled slope with two jumps on either side. The sport tests all areas of a freestyle skiers ability; how they navigate the difficult and bumpy slope, their speed and their arsenal of tricks.
One for the purists.
When is it?
Where is it?
Genting Snow Park, Zhangjiakou Zone.
Who’s gonna win?
Reigning Olympic and world champion Mikael Kingsbury is almost certainly going to be on the podium in Beijing. The Canadian has won the most World Championships and moguls World Cup titles of any male in history.
Team GB’s James ‘Woodsy’ Woods decided not to compete in 2018 but, since his return, has become a world slopestyle champion.
Izzy Atkin, also of Team GB, will be looking to improve on her bronze medal in the previous Winter Olympics.
She has a younger sister, Zoe Atkin, who won World Cup silver and a world championship bronze on the half pipe last year.
What about China?
Please God let Eileen Gu win. As if freestyle skiing wasn’t cool enough, the American-born Chinese is soon to begin studying at Stanford University, is signed to IMG Models, featured in Vogue and Elle magazine and has been snapped front row at Paris fashion week.
The 18-year-old was born in the United States to an American father and Chinese mother. In an interview with South China Morning Post, she said: “Nobody can deny I’m American, nobody can deny I’m Chinese.”
On the slopes, Gu won two golds at the Winter X Games in 2021 and the World Championships. She’s not only cool as f****, but she’s a serious contender.
Check out all 15 events in our Beijing 2022 Bluffer's Guide by scanning the QR code:
[Cover image via Wikimedia]