FIS pushes for team event at 2018 Games

Thu Feb 20, 2014 12:22pm EST
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By Alan Baldwin

ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (Reuters) - Alpine skiing's governing body is making a fresh push for a nations team event to be included in the program for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

International Ski Federation (FIS) secretary general Sarah Lewis said on Thursday she was optimistic the plan would succeed this time, with broadcasters keen on the format and no extra athletes involved beyond those competing in other races.

The event has been part of the world championship program since 2005, with the top 16 nations in the FIS rankings competing in a knockout format.

Alpine skiing at the Olympics awards five gold medals for men and five for women - in downhill, super-G, super combined, giant slalom and slalom - and the nations event would mean mixed teams competing for an 11th gold.

Ski cross was added to the Games in 2010 and 12 new events entered the mix in 2014, including halfpipe and slopestyle in freestyle skiing and snowboarding, as well as women's ski jumping.

Lewis said Alpine skiing could offer the next novelty.

"Now we are confident that...they (the IOC) are very open and supportive of including the nations team event," Lewis told Reuters after a coaches' meeting on the eve of the last Alpine women's race of the Games.

"It's now matured to a level where it's really a highlight of the world championships...many people thought it was actually the best event.   Continued...

France's Alexis Pinturault clears a gate during the second run of the men's alpine skiing giant slalom event at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center February 19, 2014. REUTERS/Dominic Ebenbichler