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Ski Mountaineering Added To Winter Youth Olympic Games Program

By Gary R. Blockus | July 09, 2017, 4:17 p.m. (ET)

(L-R) Ivan Murada and Graziano Boscacci of Italy compete in the team senior men's race at the first Ski Mountaineering World Championship on Jan. 26, 2002 in Serre Chevalier, France.


Ski mountaineering, a sport that utilizes Telemark skis or alpine skis with detachable heels in order to climb mountains with or without skis on, and then ski down, is being added to the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lausanne 2020.

The International Olympic Committee Executive Board announced the addition today, along with other items that resulted in more women, more total athletes and more innovative content for the third edition of the Winter Youth Games.

Ski mountaineering will include individual, sprint and relay disciplines for 17-18-year-olds, and become the eighth sport included in the program.

The IOC Executive Board also approved changes, working closely with the sports International Federations, in a move designed to broaden appeal and gender balance, adding a mixed-National Olympic Committee 3x3 ice hockey tournament, a women’s doubles event in luge, and the introduction of Nordic combined for women. The new disciplines will utilize existing venues.

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The moves toward gender equality mirror similar objectives achieved for the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018, and ensure the most number of sports ever available for at a Winter YOG. Last month, the IOC announced changes for better gender equality at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

In order to accommodate the 1,880 athletes who will compete at Lausanne 2020, the IOC EB confirmed a two-wave stay of athletes, which will shorten the number of days each athlete stays in the Youth Olympic Village, opening the door for a second wave of athletes to utilize the facilities.

Gary R. Blockus is a journalist from Allentown, Pennsylvania who has covered multiple Olympic Games. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.