New sports for Olympic programme
The International Olympics Committee has decided to debut synchronised figure skating, a mixed biathlon relay race, women’s ski trampoline jumps, a sleigh relay race and half pipe freestyle ski jumping. The Black Sea region event could also see downhill and freestyle snowboarding added, alongside a team mountain ski event; another sitting of the Committee is planned. In three years’ time, Sochi will be presenting a record number of sets of medals: 92.
Women’s trampoline jumping had been anticipated to join the Olympic programme before the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, as equal rights organisations in Canada had asked the IOC to make the sport gender-equal. IOC Head Jacques Rogge decided against the idea but the campaigners appealed to the Higher Court of Canada to gain equal access to the event. They failed to find any assistance there but, some time later, the IOC had to admit the justness of women’s right to compete in this sport.
Belarus may struggle for medals in the mixed biathlon relay race, although it has been organised as part of the World Championship seven times. Our Belarusian skiing marksmen did best at the 2008 World Championship in Swedish Ostersund, when our Belarusian quartet — Lyudmila Kalinchik, Darya Domracheva, Rustam Valiullin and Sergey Novikov — sensationally earned silver. However, at the recent World Championship in Russian Khanty-Mansiysk, the Belarusian team came a disappointing tenth. Of course, there is still much time to improve.