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The five Olympic alpine skiing events for men and women today are Downhill, Slalom, Giant slalom, Super G, and Combined.
The longest course and the highest speeds in alpine skiing are featured in the downhill event. Every skier makes a single run down a single course and the fastest time determines the winner.
Super-G (for super giant slalom) combines the speed of downhill with the more precise turns of giant slalom. The course run is shorter than downhill but longer than a giant slalom course. Every skier makes one run down a single course and the quickest time determines the champion.
Giant slalom is similar to the slalom, with fewer, but wider and smoother turns. Every skier makes two runs down two different courses on the same slope. Both runs take place on the same day, usually with the first run occurs in the morning and the second run occurs in the afternoon. The times are combined together, and the fastest total time determines the winner.
The slalom features the shortest course and the fastest turns. As in the giant slalom, every skier in the competition makes two runs down two different courses on the same slope. Both runs also take place on the same day. The times are combined together and the quickest total time determines the champion.
The combined event consists of one downhill followed by two slalom runs, using a shorter course. The times are combined together, and the fastest total time determines the winner.
This was due to a lack of infrastructure and proper skiing equipment necessary for hosting such events. After the development of lifts, gondolas, cable cars and better equipment downhill skiing events became more prominent. Alpine skiers could use these lifts and move up the slopes with ease. This made practicing and enjoying the sport easier without being exhausted due to the steep climb on foot. Finally, at the 1936 Games in Innsbruck, Austria the Winter Olympics hosted the first exclusive Alpine skiing competition.
The induction of skiing in the Olympics brought exposure internationally to this ancient and traditional winter activity. Skiers of all calibers from across the globe participate in this prestigious event representing their respective countries. There is a sense of pride that comes with marching in the opening ceremonies with your countries flag displayed proudly.
Skiing has become a glamorous outdoor winter sport and Olympic skiing is very popular nowadays. Today skiing at the Olympics is not only about winning gold medals but its something more than that. Olympic skiing events are a platform where various companies, banks and corporate institutions market their products. Famous skiers are endorsing top brands such as Rossignal, Head, Sun Ice, and numerous other brands manufacturing sports accessories, sports equipment, etc. This is often a launching platform for professional careers.
The introduction of skiing into the Olympic arena has totally redefined this popular winter sport making it more thrilling and challenging. The downhill skiing events hosted at the Winter Olympics are among the most popular.