APNewsBreak: IOC considers adding new Winter Olympic events

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) The IOC is considering adding new events in snowboarding, freestyle skiing, speedskating and curling for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Big Air in snowboarding, Big Air in freestyle skiing, mass start in speedskating and mixed doubles in curling have been submitted for approval to the International Olympic Committee executive board.

The new events were proposed for inclusion by their respective international federations, IOC sports director Kit McConnell confirmed to The Associated Press on Sunday.

The recommendations will be considered Monday on the second day of the IOC's board meeting in Lausanne.

The snowboard parallel slalom event, meanwhile, has been proposed to be dropped from the Olympic program.

Under IOC rules, events and disciplines can be added or removed up to three years before the games.

The IOC has been determined to attract younger audiences, as evidenced by the addition of halfpipe and slopestyle events at recent Winter Olympics. Now it looks like Big Air will be the latest step in that goal.

In Big Air events, competitors fly off a highly pitched ramp similar to those on the slopestyle course, and perform jumps with multiple flips and spins. They do as many jumps as possible in an allotted amount of time.

The International Skating Union, meanwhile, has also been looking to make Olympic speedskating more exciting for fans.

Mass start races would add intrigue, team tactics and a direct confrontation of skating styles in a long-distance event. It could also bring some of the push and shove elements of short track to the Olympic big oval - something likely to displease purists.

Curling has had two events, separate men's and women's competitions, since returning to the Olympics in 1998.

While traditional curling involves teams of four players, mixed doubles would include teams of two players - one male and one female. Teams would have six stones each, instead of eight.

The World Curling Federation tried to get mixed doubles on the program for the 2010 Vancouver Games, but it was rejected because the discipline hadn't spread globally.

The IOC is also still working on the program for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Under a new procedure, Japanese organizers can propose the addition of one or more sports for their games.

Baseball and softball - both out of the Olympics since the 2008 Beijing Games - are considered the favorites to be included in Tokyo because of their popularity in Japan. Tokyo organizers will update the IOC board on the process Monday. A final decision will be made in August 2016 on the eve of the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

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