Figure skating team event added to Sochi programme

LONDON — The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced today that it would be introducing a figure skating team event at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

According to the IOC, the figure skating team event will feature teams made up of six skaters: one male skater, one female skater, one skating pair and one ice dance couple. Points are awarded to each skater or couple. The team with the highest number of aggregate points is declared the winner.

The figure skating team event will make its first appearance in January 2012 at the first Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck. In 2014, the team event will debut at the Olympic Winter Games.

The event will be modeled after the International Skating Union (ISU) World Team Trophy held in 2009 in Tokyo. In Tokyo, the top six countries with the best overall placements that season competed against each other. Each team consists of two men, two ladies, one pair team and once ice dance couple. The United States won gold at the 2009 event with Canada taking home the silver and Japan the bronze.

A 2011 ISU World Team Trophy was scheduled to take place from April 14-17, 2011 in Yokohama, Japan, but it was canceled as a result of the earthquake and tsunami.

The five events added to the programme are ski half-pipe (men and women), women’s ski jumping, biathlon mixed relay, figure skating team event and luge team relay. The decision to include the new events was based on a report presented by the Olympic Programme Commission (OPC) to the IOC Executive Board (EB) in Acapulco in October last year.

The OPC studied the proposal of the individual International Sports Federations and, at the request of the EB, compiled a detailed analysis of all candidate events at their respective world championships this winter. In addition, the OPC looked at an operational feasibility study conducted by the organizers of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games.

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.

“The inclusion of these events on the Olympic Winter Games program is sure to be appreciated by athletes and sports fans alike,” said IOC President Jacques Rogge. “These are exciting, entertaining events that perfectly complement the existing events on the sports program, bring added appeal and increase the number of women participating at the Games. I look forward to watching the athletes compete in these events in Sochi 2014.”

Five other events under consideration — ski slopestyle (men and women), snowboard slopestyle (men and women), 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.

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