Slopestyle set for Sochi

Eurosport - Sat, 05 Jun 20:53:00 2010

Britain's Jenny Jones has seen her hopes of competing at Sochi 2014 boosted after slopestyle snowboarding took a step closer to Olympic inclusion.

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Jones, 29, is the reigning double X-Games slopestyle champion but despite conquering all before her in the past two years, was forced to watch the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics from her living room.

Despite its popularity in snowsport circles, slopestyle has been overlooked for Olympic inclusion in the past but at the recent International Ski Federation Congress in Turkey, the discipline took a giant step towards being added the programme for Sochi 2014.

The FIS voted unanimously to add slopestyle to the World Snowboarding Championships, while a proposal to submit slopestyle to the International Olympic Committee was also discussed in positive tones.

Jones is arguably the most successful ever snowsport athlete from the UK and would be considered a genuine contender to claim Great Britain's first ever snowsport Olympic medal in Sochi.

Another champion of slopestyle's cause is American superstar Shaun White, who wowed packed audiences in Vancouver on his way to defending his Olympic halfpipe crown.

White, 23, is the marquee name of snowboarding - he made an estimated $8m in sponsorship last year, while according to Forbes magazine he tops the Winter Olympian rich list.

And he has publicly called on the IOC and the FIS to add slopestyle to the Olympic schedule and give him the chance to compete in more than one discipline in Sochi.

It's likely that the IOC would welcome the addition of events success as slopestyle as they bid to further the Winter Olympics' appeal to younger audiences.

Meanwhile, the FIS also unanimously supported proposals to submit freestyle halfpipe skiing to the IOC, as well as ladies' ski jumping.

Ladies' ski jumping was not included at Vancouver 2010 - making it the only Winter Olympic sport not to have gender equality.

It prompted a group of female competitors to take their case to the Supreme Court on the grounds that they're exclusion contravened the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

But while Justice Lauri Ann Fenlon sympathised with the ski jumpers she ultimately ruled it was the decision of the IOC and not Vancouver 2010 organisers as to whether they should be allowed to compete.

And the IOC remained forthright in stating that they did not feel the sport had developed widely enough on a global scale for Olympic inclusion.

They will however introduce ladies' ski jumping at the inaugural Winter Youth Olympics in 2012 in Innsbruck, Austria and the sport is widely expected to be added to the Sochi schedule.

More than the Games / Eurosport

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