While America was celebrating its birthday, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was deciding that slopestyle skiing and snowboarding would make their Olympic debut at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi.
On July 4, 2011, during an executive board meeting in Durban, South Africa, the IOC announced that slopestyle and snowboarding parallel slalom would be added to the Olympic event roster, while the proposed alpine team event would not. In April, the IOC had also approved halfpipe skiing along with women's ski jumping for the 2014 Games.
In a statement, officials of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) acknowledged the International Olympic Committee “for its progressive decision,” and said that the addition of events in snowboarding and freeskiing is directly connected to what youth are doing worldwide today in the sport.
“The IOC's decision to add slopestyle to the Olympics recognizes the millions of youth who are already participating in the sport in terrain parks around the world,” said USSA President and CEO Bill Marolt. “It will have a very positive impact on the sport including our U.S. Snowboarding and U.S. Freeskiing programs (which the USSA formed in January).”
Athletes globally reacted favorably that the sport they evolved has been recognized for inclusion in the world's biggest sporting event. “I couldn't be more excited about the IOC's decision,” said American slopestyle skier Tom Wallisch. “I've always dreamt of skiing for the USA at the Olympics, and now we finally have the opportunity. This is a huge moment for our sport.”
In Canada, Montreal’s Kaya Turski, who earned a silver medal at the ski version of the event’s inaugural FIS World Championships earlier this year, said, “I'm stoked to be part of a sport that represents a younger generation and that's going to be way cool to watch during the Olympics. I think it will be an eye opener for a lot of people. I feel good about reppin' Canada! I can't wait.”
The USSA noted that slopestyle is predicted to be a ratings leader for Olympic broadcasters, and that NBC recently offered a record $4.4 billion for the rights to broadcast the next four Olympic Games.
“Slopestyle skiing and snowboarding are already bringing scale to our industry worldwide,” said the USSA's Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer Andrew Judelson. “The IOC's recognition of slopestyle is great for our sport and partners like The North Face in freeskiing and Burton in snowboarding who have also seen the youthful interest in the sports. We look forward to leveraging these new Olympic disciplines to engage consumers, drive growth and fund our athletes Olympic dreams.”
The USSA and U.S. Olympic Committee will determine a selection process to ultimately name the team for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.
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