Snowboarding is one of the newer events on the Winter Olympic programme, having been first included at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. But despite having only featured at six editions of the Games, snowboarding has become one of the most popular and exciting sports at the Winter Olympics.
There are 11 events in the snowboarding competition at Beijing 2022, including mixed team snowboard cross, which will be making its Winter Olympic debut after featuring at the Winter Youth Olympic Games.
Top Olympic snowboarders at Beijing 2022
The variety of events in Winter Olympic snowboarding - and the unique skillsets each event requires - means there are rarely multiple medalists in the competition at the Games. In fact, at PyeongChang 2018, only one athlete won more than one medal: Jamie Anderson (USA) won gold in the women's slopestyle and silver in the Big Air. However, there are several Olympians who have won medals at multiple Games, and thus should be considered among the favourites to stand on the podium again in Beijing.
Anderson is among these names. The American is the two-time defending Olympic champion in the women's slopestyle and the most decorated woman in X Games history with 17 medals, and if she qualifies for her third successive Winter Olympics she'll be the woman to beat in the slopestyle.
Two-time Olympic medalist Eva Samková (CZE) won gold and bronze in the snowboard cross at Sochi 2014 and PyeongChang 2018 respectively, while also winning gold (2019) and bronze (2021) in the event at the World Championships. Samková remains a top contender in the event, but Charlotte Bankes (GBR), who won gold at the Worlds in 2021, represents a legitimate threat to challenge Samková in Beijing alongside defending Olympic champion and world silver medalist Michela Moioli (ITA).
Ledecká became the first person to win two gold medals at the same Winter Olympics using two different types of equipment (skis and snowboard) when she won gold in the super-G in alpine skiing and in the parallel giant slalom in snowboarding.
Kim became the youngest woman to win an Olympic snowboarding gold medal when she won gold in the women's snowboard halfpipe at 17 years old. She's also the reigning World, Olympic and X Games champion in the halfpipe and the first to win the title at all three of those major events, plus the Youth Olympic Games.
On the men's side, Shaun White (USA) - who holds the record for the most Olympic gold medals by a snowboarder (three) - is pursuing his fifth Winter Olympics in order to defend his title in the halfpipe and pick up a historic fourth medal in the event, following wins at PyeongChang 2018, Vancouver 2010 and Torino 2006. He will likely be challenged by Ayumu Hirano (JPN), who won silver in the halfpipe in PyeongChang and Sochi 2014, and three-time World Champion and PyeongChang bronze medalist Scotty James (AUS). Yūto Totsuka (JPN) won gold in the event at the 2021 World Championships.
In the snowboard cross, the retirement of two-time reigning Olympic champion Pierre Vaultier (FRA) means we will see a new gold medalist in the event for the first time since 2010. Two-time Olympian Lucas Eguibar (ESP) would appear to be the early favourite for the title after winning gold in the event at the 2021 World Championships.
Other names to look out for in the men's field include PyeongChang slopestyle gold medalist Red Gerard (USA), PyeongChang Big Air gold medalist Sébastien Toutant (CAN), and two-time Olympic medalist and five-time World Champion Benjamin Karl (AUT) (parallel slalom in '09, '11, '21, parallel giant slalom in '11 and '13).
Olympic snowboarding schedule at Beijing 2022
The snowboarding competition will take place from 5 February - 15 February 2022.
Olympic snowboarding venue at Beijing 2022
The snowboarding competition will take place at Genting Snow Park in the Zhangjiakou cluster, where competitions in freestyle skiing, cross-country skiing, Nordic combined, ski jumping and biathlon will also take place. Following the Winter Olympics, the venue will be converted into a ski resort.
The Big Air event will take place at Big Air Shougang, located in the Shougang Industrial Park. The venue is the world's first permanent Big Air structure, and will be used by the public for recreational purposes after the Games.
Olympic snowboarding competition format at Beijing 2022
The snowboard competition at Beijing 2022 will feature 11 events, including the new mixed team snowboard cross event.
Men & Women
Parallel Giant Slalom
Mixed Team Snowboard Cross
The halfpipe, slopestyle and Big Air competitions are all judged events, meaning each athlete's run(s) are scored by a panel of judges who evaluate riders based on the difficulty of the tricks, execution of the run, amplitude of the techniques and landing of the jumps. The snowboard cross, parallel giant slalom and mixed team snowboard cross events are all races (first to cross the line wins!).
There are a total of 230 qualification places - plus an additional eight host country places - for athletes to qualify to compete in the snowboard competition at Beijing 2022.
Olympic snowboarding history
Snowboarding has its origins as a sport in 1960's America, when people sought new winter activities. It's thought to have been first contested in 1968, when a Michigan engineer named Sherman Poppen stuck two skis together and attached a rope at one end for his kids to glide downhill.
Poppen named the device a "snurfer" and licensed the idea to a manufacturer. He ended up selling over half a million products in 1966 alone!
In the late 1970s snowboarders started to “invade” traditional ski resorts, but faced opposition from skiers who tried to exclude the snowboarders from “their” mountains. By the 1990s, however, almost all ski resorts had accepted snowboarding, and the resorts have found the snowboarders to be an excellent source of new revenue.
The first national snowboarding championships were held in the U.S. in 1982, with the first World Championships following a year later. The International Snowboarding Federation (ISF) formed seven years later and the International Ski Federation (FIS) introduced snowboarding as a FIS discipline in 1994, helping pave the way for snowboarding's Winter Olympic debut at the Nagano Games in 1998. Men's and women's events were contested in the giant slalom and halfpipe competitions, and at the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City, parallel giant slalom and halfpipe were added to the programme. Snowboard cross made its debut at Turin 2006, with slopestyle and parallel slalom added in 2014. Big Air made its debut at PyeongChang 2018, and mixed team snowboard cross will be the latest event to joining the Olympic snowboard programme when it debuts at Beijing 2022.
The United States is the most successful nation in Winter Olympic snowboarding with 31 medals, far outpacing their closet rivals Switzerland, who have 13. Shaun White is the most decorated athlete in the competition with three gold medals, while his compatriot Jamie Anderson sits just behind him with two golds and one silver.