Winter Olympics: History Of Freestyle Skiing
In the Winter Olympics: History of Freestyle Skiing is not as extensive as many believe. Freestyle skiing has been a part of the Olympic program since 1988, where men's and women's moguls, aerials, and ballet were demonstration sports. It didn't take long for freestyle skiing events to be included in medal competition, however.
The moguls event would become the first freestyle skiing event to contend for medals in 1992 at the Albertville, France Olympic Games. Moguls is an event in which athletes race over jumps, sometimes performing tricks along the way. In 1992, Edgar Grospiron of France and Donna Weinbrecht of the United States would leave the Games with the first Olympic freestyle skiing gold medals.
By 1994, the aerial event also would be included in medal competition at the Lillehammer Olympic Games. Aerials is an event in which athletes ski up a ramp and do a trick in the air, landing on a slope on the other side. In 1994, Sonny Schoenbaechler of Switzerland and Lina Tcheryazova of Uzbekistan would take home gold medals, becoming the first to win gold in the aerial events at the Olympic Games. At the time,Tcheryazova was the only woman who consistently could land the triple-flip trick.
Ski-cross was first introduced into the Olympics at the 2010 Vancouver Games. In ski-cross, heats of four skiers race downhill around curves and bends, with the top finishers advancing to the next heat, until eventually medal winners are determined. In 2010, Michael Schmid of Switzerland and Ashleigh McIvor of Canada took home the first ski-cross gold medals.
Although freestyle skiing events did not make their debut at Winter Olympic Games until the later years of the 20th century, the event was created around the beginning of the century. First practiced in Norway, Italy and Austria, freestyle made its way to the United States around the 1920s and became increasingly popular by the 1960s. The sport is nicknamed "hot dogging" because of the tricks and jumps involved.
The sport was first recognized by the International Ski Federation in 1979 in an effort to place regulations on the sport and make it somewhat safer. The first World Cup was contested in 1980. Eight years later, in the Winter Olympics, the history of freestyle skiing would begin.