Winter Olympic Program Inflate-Gate

The IOC today approved 6 new events to be held at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, Korea. They are as follows:

  • Alpine Skiing – mixed team event
  • Curling – mixed doubles event
  • Snowboarding – Big Air for men / women
  • Speed Skating – mass start for men / women

In addition, snowboarding will lose two events – parallel special slalom for men and women.

This will bring the Winter Olympic Program to a total of 102 events, the first time the Winter Olympics have had more than 100 events. The following is how the Program has inflated over the years at the Olympic Winter Games. The biggest changes have occurred in 2002, with the addition of 10 events, and 2014, when 12 events were added.

Year Men Wom Mix Total Men% Wom% Mix%
1908 2 1 1 4 50.0% 25.0% 25.0%
1920 2 1 1 4 50.0% 25.0% 25.0%
1924 14 1 1 16 87.5% 6.3% 6.3%
1928 12 1 1 14 85.7% 7.1% 7.1%
1932 12 1 1 14 85.7% 7.1% 7.1%
1936 14 2 1 17 82.4% 11.8% 5.9%
1948 17 4 1 22 77.3% 18.2% 4.5%
1952 16 5 1 22 72.7% 22.7% 4.5%
1956 17 6 1 24 70.8% 25.0% 4.2%
1960 16 10 1 27 59.3% 37.0% 3.7%
1964 20 12 2 34 58.8% 35.3% 5.9%
1968 21 12 2 35 60.0% 34.3% 5.7%
1972 21 12 2 35 60.0% 34.3% 5.7%
1976 22 12 3 37 59.5% 32.4% 8.1%
1980 23 12 3 38 60.5% 31.6% 7.9%
1984 23 13 3 39 59.0% 33.3% 7.7%
1988 27 16 3 46 58.7% 34.8% 6.5%
1992 31 23 3 57 54.4% 40.4% 5.3%
1994 33 25 3 61 54.1% 41.0% 4.9%
1998 36 29 3 68 52.9% 42.6% 4.4%
2002 41 34 3 78 52.6% 43.6% 3.8%
2006 44 37 3 84 52.4% 44.0% 3.6%
2010 45 38 3 86 52.3% 44.2% 3.5%
2014 49 43 6 98 50.0% 43.9% 6.1%
2018 50 44 8 102 49.0% 43.1% 7.8%
Totals 608 394 60 1062 57.3% 37.1% 5.6%

So after 2018, there will have been 1,062 Winter Olympic events, or 1,054, if you wish to include the 1908 and 1920 figure skating and ice hockey as part of the Summer Olympics, and not include them as Winter Olympic events. So one of the 2018 Winter Olympic events will be the 1,000th event at the Winter Olympics – can’t tell you which one until the schedule comes out, and with weather problems and re-scheduling at the Winter Games, probably not until it actually happens.

By comparison, through 2012, the Summer Olympics will have had 4,856 events (the numbers for 1900 and 1904 are always disputed), including 1906, or 4,782, if you wish to be a purist, and omit 1906, as the IOC does. (The International Society of Olympic Historians [ISOH] considers the 1906 Games as Olympic Games.)

The last time a Summer Olympics had less than 100 events was at St. Louis in 1904, with 95 events. There were 302 events at both the 2008 Beijing and the 2012 London Olympics.

This continues the IOC policy of trying to equalize the program in terms of gender equity. However, because there are more mixed events now (8 in 2018), the men’s and women’s percentages both go down slightly. However, men will be competing in 56.8% of the events on the 2018 Winter Program, and women in 50.9% of the available events, counting the mixed events.

Counting sports and disciplines, there will be no change in 2018 as no new disciplines were added. Here is the breakdown for the various sports-disciplines at the Winter Olympics. Women do not compete in Nordic combined, as the men do. The only other sport in which women have not competed is military patrol, which was on the program in 1924, and is somewhat similar to a biathlon mass start team event. Women also have only one event in bobsledding, unlike the men, who have two; and only one event in ski jumping, while the men have three.

Year Men Women Mixed Total
1908 1 1 1 1
1920 2 1 1 2
1924 9 1 1 9
1928 8 1 1 8
1932 7 1 1 7
1936 8 2 1 8
1948 9 2 1 9
1952 8 3 1 8
1956 8 3 1 8
1960 8 4 1 8
1964 10 5 2 10
1968 10 5 2 10
1972 10 5 2 10
1976 10 5 2 10
1980 10 5 2 10
1984 10 5 2 10
1988 10 5 2 10
1992 12 8 2 12
1994 12 8 2 12
1998 14 11 2 14
2002 15 13 2 15
2006 15 13 2 15
2010 15 13 2 15
2014 15 14 3 15
2018 15 14 5 15
Totals 16 14 5 16

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