Sochi Games to feature new medal sports

Sochi, Russia ( - If you didn't get your fill of the Winter X Games recently, the Sochi Winter Games should satisfy the appetite.

X Games events are growing with popularity at the Olympics and some are set to debut and thrill over the upcoming games.

Freestyle skiing is adding halfpipe and slopestyle events, while the addition of snowboard slopestyle and mixed parallel snowboard slalom will excite snowboard enthusiasts.

However, the slopestyle course has taken a hit over the last few days. Norway medal contender Torstein Horgmo broke his collarbone in a crash and had to withdraw from the Olympics.

Word came out American Shaun White also withdrew from event, citing injury risk. White will concentrate in the snowboard halfpipe. With the absence of White and Horgmo, look for the Canadian trio of Mark McMorris, Sebastien Toutant and Max Parrot as heavy favorites.

Among the more traditional sports, women's ski jumping has been added as an Olympic event, joining the existing men's ski jumping event.

Some of the top names in women's ski jumping are Sara Takahashi of Japan, the World Cup points leader, Germany's Carina Vogt and Daniela Iraschko of Austria. The American squad consists of Jessica Jerome, Lindsey Van and Sarah Hendrickson, who returns to the team after severe knee damage last August.

Other new events include team-relay luge, mixed-relay biathlon and mixed-team figure skating.

The mixed-team figure skating competition begins on Thursday. Each participating nation will have one athlete from men's singles, women's singles, a pairs team and ice dance skaters. They will each perform a short program and one free skate, combining the score from each discipline. The top three teams are expected to be Canada, Russia and the United States.

Some Olympic sports begin Thursday with the opening ceremony set for Friday.