What is the new snowboard cross mixed team event?

Beijing 2022 will feature nine mixed events at the Winter Olympics. One of them will be the snowboard cross mixed team competition. But do you know what's involved? Find out everything you need to know before its Olympic debut.

By Marta Martín
Picture by 2021 Getty Images

To increase gender equality at the Games, mixed events have become a core element of the Olympic programme. At Beijing 2022, there will be nine mixed events - four new ones and five that have already been featured at past Olympics.

On 12 February 2022, the snowboard cross mixed team competition will make its Olympic debut and the event's first-ever medals will be handed out.

A maximum of 16 teams with two athletes per team will battle it out in a knock-out event that will culminate with a frenetic big final, in which four teams will attempt to win the first Olympic gold medal in the event's history.

The snowboard cross mixed team format at Beijing 2022

Despite Beijing 2022 being the first time the event will feature at the Olympics, the snowboard cross mixed team event has been a feature of the SBX season for almost a decade, having been included at numerous World Cups since the 2012/13 season.

The competition’s popularity is due to a thrilling format that you won’t want to take your eyes off.

Each team is made up of two snowboarders - one woman and one man - with men competing first and women second. When the first team member crosses the line, the time advantage he holds over the next competitor is transferred to his female teammate. The female athletes then begin their runs in a staggered format, with the time advantage they hold added to the beginning. The first female athlete to pass the line wins the race.

At Beijing 2022, the two best teams from each of the four heats advance to the semi-finals, with the two fastest from each semi-final taking part in the big final.

How to follow the snowboard cross mixed event at Beijing 2022

Genting Snow Park, also known as Secret Garden, in Chongli, is the venue that will host all the snowboard events (with the exception of Big Air), including the snowboard cross mixed team event.

The entire snowboard cross mixed team event will take place on one day, so mark 12 February 2022 on your calendars.

The event will start with the quarterfinals at 10am (local time), with the semi-finals taking place half an hour later. At 10:50 the small final will take place right before the big final, where the best four teams will battle for the gold medal.

What makes the mixed team event so special? Olympians explain

Snowboarders are used to competing by themselves, however when it comes to the mixed team event other skills are required - qualities that Belle Brockhoff and Jarryd Hughes needed to add to their arsenal when they teamed up ahead of the 2021 World Championships.

"We've got different needs. We've had to adjust and that's been really good. You know, we've been able to get what we want. We shared a few different ideas on how to approach the race, so we had to adjust what we wanted to do, and it worked out really well," Brockhoff explained to Olympics.com.

“Really well” eventually led to the pair becoming world champions.

Being part of a team also means having a greater sense of responsibility. At the end of the day, if you make a mistake it impacts the results of your partner as well.

"You kind of share the responsibility. As an individual, if you screw up, it's your fault completely. But with the mixed team event you kind of share that responsibility a little bit more."

Despite the extra responsibility, Brockhoff prefers to look on the bright side. Things may be a little more complicated but you can also take advantage of your teammate’s skills.

"Jarryd has the ability to find opportunities on a track and just take them. He's able to get the fastest runs on the track," she remarked.

Who to look out for in the snowboard cross mixed team event?

Australia's Jarryd Hughes and Belle Brockhoff are the current world champions and will attempt to add Olympic gold to their resume at Beijing 2022. If they succeed in their quest, it would represent a first Olympic medal for Brockhoff and a second for Hughes who is the reigning silver medallist in the men’s individual competition.

However, other teams will come to Beijing with the exact same aim. Italy’s Lorenzo Sommariva and Michela Moioli were silver medallists at the 2021 World Championships and won the big final in December’s World Cup in Montafon - the only World Cup this season in which the event will feature. Moioli is also the defending snowboard cross Olympic champion. Will she be able to retain her title and add another shiny mixed team gold medal to her collection?

In Montafon, the Italian duo won ahead of Czech Republic's Eva Samková and Jan Kubicik. France's Quentin Sodogas and Sochi 2014 snowboard cross bronze medallist, Chloe Trespeuch were third.

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