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OLYMPIC REVIEW69 advance to the final round where they execute two more jumps in reverse order. Moguls is a test of skiers' ability to ski fast down a course peppered with large jumps and two ' air bumps'. The air bumps - one at the top, one at the bottom - give athletes the chance to impress judges with tricks that include spins, loops, flips and twists. Vancouver 2010 will see the introduction of two new Olympic events: men's and women's ski cross. A part of the International Ski Federation ( FIS) World Cup calendar since 2003, ski cross will feature four athletes racing a course, which includes turns, banking and jumps. Races can be tense, dramatic affairs and a fast start before the first of several, often decisive turns is usually critical for the outcome of the race. Snowboarding was introduced at the Nagano Games in 1998 with giant slalom and halfpipe featured. Snowboard cross was later introduced at the 2006 Games. The halfpipe has become a firm favourite with the public and takes place in a half- cylinder- shaped course dug deep into the hill. Using speed gained on the slope, snowboarders ride up over the rim of the pipe and perform acrobatic aerial tricks. The object is to perform difficult tricks with perfect form. ( See page 45 for a full preview.) The concept of ski jumping seems simple: ski down a long ramp perched on the side of a steep hill and use a combination of bravery and speed to try and land as far as possible on the snow below. However, there is often a fine line between a gold medal and fourth place in a sport where the smallest details can be crucial. After waiting for optimal wind conditions, athletes crouch on their wide skis, head down the in- run and burst off the end of the ramp. Assuming the V- style position, they then glide in mid- air to maximise lift and minimise drag before landing as far as possible, and in a required telemark position. Although distance is crucial, judges also award points for style and for the execution of the landing. Nordic combined, which has been on the Olympic programme since the first Winter Games in 1924, sees athletes compete in ski jumping and cross- country skiing; athletes set off for the ski in accordance with their finishing position in the jump. There are two individual events and a team event. AboveSki jumping demands bravery and skill LeftDownhill skiers reach speeds of up to 130km/ h Endurance, stamina and speed are all crucial factors. The women's 30km and men's 50km mass start races are considered the blue riband events, and can often be decided by late lunges at the finish line. However, the men's and women's relay events - in which the first two legs are held in classical technique and the last two in freestyle - have created plenty of drama in past editions of the Games. Previously restricted to the men's and women's moguls and aerials competition, aerials is arguably freestyle skiing's most spectacular event and, following a strategic run- in, involves executing jumps off a ramp. In mid- air, skiers execute a range of somersaults and twists with varying degrees of difficulty in a bid to wow the judges, who award points for take off ( 20% of the score), form in the air ( 50%) and landing ( 30%). After a two- jump qualification round, the 12 top aerialists SPORTS PROFILES SPORTS PROFILES

The town of Whistler, two hours north of Vancouver, is the hub for most of the skiing events at the 2010 Games. While the alpine races will be held at Whistler Creekside, the cross- country, ski jumping, biathlon and nordic combined will be close neighbours at Whistler Olympic Park. The Dave Murray Downhill course will host the men's alpine races while the women tackle Franz's Run. Both runs have been used for many years in hosting top races, including those on the FIS World Cup calendar. Recent improvements at the venue include adding extra width to the existing men's course and the creation of the new ladies course. Cross- country is one of four Olympic disciplines, along with ski jumping, nordic combined and biathlon, whose medals will be fought out at Whistler Olympic Park. Giving fans the chance to catch glimpses of four different disciplines in close vicinity, three separate stadiums are situated just 400 metres apart. Around 15km of trails that will host all the men's and women's cross- country events, from the sprint to the 50km mass start, have been built around the cross- country stadium. The adjacent ski jump stadium is dominated by two ski jumps, one normal hill and one large hill. Both have been built to include one of the world's most sophisticated snow refrigeration and track setting systems. Cypress Mountain will host the freestyle and snowboard events during the Games and boasts an impressive capacity of 12,000. Located in Cypress Provincial Park, adjacent to the District of West Vancouver, the mountain is accessed easily by motorway and offers spectacular views of Vancouver and its harbour. 70OLYMPIC REVIEW VENUE Below: The slopes of Whistler will host the various different ski events