The Sochi Network

12 new events to excite and delight at the Winter Olympics

There will be no new sports at the forthcoming Sochi Games.

Bad news for the Ski mountaineering, Ski orienteering and Winter triathlon communities (and we're sure there are communities) but there are new events in the existing 15 sports.

12 new events have been added to take the golds on offer to 96.

Here is what is in, what to look out for and some tips for the medals.

1/2 - Freestyle Skiing: Slopestyle – Men’s and Women’s

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X Games are all the rage, so much so that the BBC opted for live coverage of Ski Cross over an Alpine Skiing gold medal decision in Vancouver.

Slopestyle is one of the most popular events at the Winter X Games where skiers go down a 565m course executing moves and tricks over a course featuring rails and jumps.

Think Kick Start on snow with judges marking scores on execution, style, difficulty, variety and progression.

Britain have a genuine medal contender in James Woods, not the Family Guy version, with American Nick Goepper and Norway's Andreas Hartveit sure to be in contention.

Canada's Kaya Turski and Dara Howell plus Norway's Tiril Sjastad Christiansen will be favourites on the women's side.

3/4 - Snowboarding: Slopestyle – Men’s and Women’s

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As above but on a tray. 30 men and 24 women, as in the Freestyle event, go for gold.

The course is longer at 655m but there are again three rails and three jumps. In slopestyle, the best of two runs count allowing competitors the chance to take a few risks.

Britain have another medal hope in Jenny Jones who was second to Jamie Anderson in the opening World Cup event of the season. The American has won the event four times at the Winter X Games.

Canada's Mark McMorris has won the last two men's titles at the X Games and will start favourite.

5/6 - Freestyle Skiing: Halfpipe – Men’s and Women’s

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Latest international research has suggested that 'Heaven Is A Halfpipe' hence its' inclusion in the Games.

Another X Games hit, the Freestyle Skiers join the Snowboarders who have had Halfpipe included in their programme since 1998.

The same judging basis applies with skiers attempting an array of jumps off the 6.8m high walls with an 18.4 degree pitch.

The US have a strong chance of a golden double with world champion and double X Games winner David Wise while they are triple handed in the women's event with teenager Maddie Bowman, who won gold at Winter X Games XVII, Devin Logan and Brita Sigourney.

Stoke teenager Rowan Cheshire won the recent World Cup event in Calgary but there was an under-strength field.

7 - Luge: Mixed team relay

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A luge relay you say, sliders running back up the track to pass a baton to a team-mate or better on a Peter Kay-style stannah stairlift?

Sadly not. One man, one woman and one doubles team will slide down the track with the times added together.

Germany will start this event as one of the hottest favourites in the entire Games.

8 - Biathlon: Mixed team relay

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February 19 sees the maiden Olympic mixed team relay in Biathlon.

Women will do the first two 6km legs, then men will do the next two 7.5km legs.

Same rules as single gender relays with three spare, but time consuming, rounds available for every miss at the shooting range which a costly penalty loop if the five targets fail to go down in eight attempts.

The Czech Republic were the shock winners of the only World Cup mixed relay this season but many teams were fielding under-strength teams.

Norway have won the last three World titles and are the only country to have two men and two women in the top 10 in the individual World Cup standings.

9 - Figure Skating: Mixed team

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The IOC's third attempt to encourage inter-team mating in the Olympic Village is the figure skating team event.

One male, one female, one pair and one ice dance couple see their points aggregated.

Russia have strength in all four categories with Amelie Lacoste the weak link in the Canada team while the US need a strong performance from whoever comes through the Pairs at their trials.

10/11 - Snowboarding: Parallel Slalom – Men’s and Women’s

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Giant Slalom has been included in the Games since 1998 when Snowboarding was included and now Parallel Slalom comes in.

Riders will go head-to-head down the same slope on two parallel courses and as the name suggests the turns are much tighter than in PGS.

The same base skill set applies and both events will see many of the same contenders but both events are wide open.

There has only been one World Cup event this season in Italy in December and 2009 world silver medallist Sylvain Dufour of France took the win. Four-time world champion Benjamin Karl of Austria and Slovenia's defending champ Rok Marguc failed to make the last four.

Women's world champion Ekaterina Tudegesheva of Russia was second in Carezza behind Canada's Caroline Calve.

12 - Ski jumping – Women’s

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Like the Steeplechase in Athletics, the last bastion of IOC inequality has come down with women taking to the normal hill.

A long campaign - that included a group of 15 female jumpers filing a lawsuit against the Vancouver Organising Committee citing the 2010 exclusion was in direct violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - sees women at least have one ski jumping gold to contest (the men have three).

Expect the medallists to jump over 100m, considerably further than anything Eddie Edwards have managed.

Defending world champion Sarah Hendrickson of the USA suffered knee ligament damage in Oberstdorf in August and in her absence Japan's Sara Takanashi has dominated the World Cup circuit.