The IOC yesterday confirmed the inclusion of six new events for the '14 Sochi Olympics. The events are men's and women's ski half-pipe, women's ski jumping, biathlon mixed relay, figure skating team event and luge team relay. Five other events -- ski slopestyle, snowboard slopestyle and Alpine team parallel competition -- are subject to a further feasibility study. A decision on the inclusion of these five events will be made within the coming weeks (IOC). In Boston, John Powers notes the added events "meet the desired requirements of geographic universality, gender equity, and youth appeal." They also increase the "number of female athletes in the Games" and "can be conducted at existing facilities or venues that are easily created or modified" (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/7).
LONG WAIT OVER: USA TODAY's Vicki Michaelis notes women's ski jumpers had been "cautiously optimistic after the IOC executive board said in October it was looking favorably on 2014 inclusion." But Women's Ski Jumping USA President Deedee Corradini said, "We've been through so many ups and downs together that none of us were willing to get our hopes up until we heard the actual words." The addition of women's ski jumping means that nordic combined, "in which competitors ski jump and cross-country ski, is now the only Olympic sport, winter or summer, that does not have a women's competition" (USA TODAY, 4/7). IOC Sports Dir Christophe Dubi said that officials "had been impressed with the level of competition among female ski jumpers last month at the Nordic world championships" in Norway. Dubi: "It was really critical, and what we'd seen there was extremely positive" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/7). The GLOBE & MAIL's James Christie writes women's ski jumping's addition is a "large step forward for women in sport following a failed attempt at an anti-discrimination lawsuit prior" to the '10 Vancouver Games (GLOBE & MAIL, 4/7).
U.S., CANADA ON THE PODIUM: In Chicago, Philip Hersh wrote the additions of the new sports were "rare victories for North American interests -- especially U.S. interests -- in the Olympic arena." Hersh: "It was a group of U.S. women -- with some help from their friends in the Great White North -- who successfully hectored the IOC's old boys club to add women's jumping." Also, since figure skating is the "most-watched Winter Olympic sport in the United States and at least No. 2 in Canada, the addition of a team skating event can only please broadcast interests in both countries" (CHICAGOTRIBUNE.com, 4/6).