It's official: Big Air snowboarding will make its debut at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, as confirmed by a new press release from the International Olympic Committee.
This time last year we posted about rumours that Big Air snowboarding was being proposed for the 2018 Olympics, and with an announcement from the IOC yesterday, it's been confirmed.
With slopestyle making its debut at Sochi 2014 to huge viewing figures, the inclusion of Big Air appears to be another move from the IOC to appeal to a younger audience.
Although the qualification procedure has yet to be announced, there will be medals up for grabs for both male and female competitors. With so few female Big Air competitions being touted as a major reason for the stagnation of women's freestyle snowboarding, the inclusion of the event in the Olympics will surely be a great thing for female progression.
A Facebook post from Spencer O'Brien sums it up well:
Big Air is officially in for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. So, I guess this means events are actually going to let women compete now? Sometimes I feel like I'm living in another time with how backwards sports are towards female equality. I have a lot of issues with the Olympics, but one thing I do respect is that they don't allow additions of new sports unless they include both men and women.
With the quard cork becoming a reality for the first time this season and still three years to go until the games, we can't even begin to imagine what the level of riding will be like by that point. That said, a lot will surely hinge on the size and quality of the kicker at Pyeongchang 2018.
As expected, the news has been met with both optimism and criticism, from the continual 'they-need-us-more-than-we-need-them' debate, to discussions about style in big air snowboarding and speculation about the tricks that will be thrown down.
What do you think about the inclusion of big air in the upcoming Olympics. Good thing? Bad thing? Or just another step in the natural evolution of snowboarding? Let us know in the comments section below.