Last Friday the IOC Executive Board online meeting in Lausanne (SUI) announced that dual moguls will be added to the Olympic Winter Games programme for Milano-Cortina 2026 (ITA). It is a great news for all freestyle fans around the world and especially for the moguls community to reward an enormous effort of bringing this long-term project to a successful conclusion.
Today we would like to take this opportunity and give all the FIS fans, and especially those not familiar with our exciting discipline, some insight on what mogul skiing is and why the IOC decision to include dual moguls to the 2026 OWG programme is an important step for the development of freestyle skiing.
Mogul skiing is a fundamental expression of freestyle skiing, with gripping action, tight battles, mistakes and incredible displays of skiing prowess, all on the fine edge of balance and control.
“Dual moguls is one of the most spectacular disciplines in snow sports,” said FIS Race Director for Moguls & Aerials Andrea Rinaldi,” It is dynamic, fast, exciting, contested and with a significant part of acrobatics. In a dual moguls competition the adrenaline rush is all over the place. The athletes, coaches, judges and spectators are all tremendously excited. The tension and expectations are always very high and the mere fact of racing against an opponent, who is skiing with full speed just a few meters away from you, makes everything simply magical.”
Dual moguls is considered to be one the most exciting and entertaining FIS ski competitions ever designed and developed. It is a head-to-head intense skiing action between athletes from different nations, with a series of knockout rounds occurring every 90 seconds. Every match-up is a direct comparison between two skiers that battle it out by displaying their best skiing and jump skills, endurance, speed, timing and balance.
Moguls in its single format made an Olympic debut as a demonstration sport already back at Calgary in 1988. Just four years later in Albertville, the single moguls event was included in the Olympic programme.
Dual moguls first premiered on the international stage at the very first FIS Freestyle Ski World Championship in 1986 held in Tignes, France and has been consistently part of the World Championships programme since 1999 (12 editions). Furthermore the event has been part of the FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup circuit since 1979. For the first time since 2002, this past 2021/22 World Cup campaign saw both women’s and men’s dual moguls crystal globes being awarded, along with the existing moguls and the overall moguls crystal globes award structure.
Moguls is truly a global ski event with athletes representing all parts of the world with many regions and nations: Europe, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, CIS nations, Central Asia, Asia, Oceania and North America.
The young female and male athletes that participate and achieve podium rankings truly represent the global reach of skiing. Since its inception, the athletes are fully and completely integrated with women and men competing on the same course at the same time and have equal TV coverage and prize money.
The podiums from the past two Olympics, World Championship and the last four World Cup seasons show the true global distribution of skiers including women and men from: Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Switzerland, Sweden and USA.
In the past 10 years, athletes from 30 nations are FIS licensed and compete in FIS competitions held in 14 different countries. The reaserch shows that there are over 125 club-based mogul activities all over the world with; 17 in Asia, 55 in Europe, 48 in North America and four in Oceania.
The moguls competition slope is compact and theatre-like. All of the action can be seen by every spectator due to this unique design. With the limited size of the field of play, it is the most cost-efficient of all of the FIS competitions venues when talking about preparation and maintenance.
In dual moguls to get the super final, skiers need to participate in five match-up rounds. Therefore the audience can continuously engage and follow their favourite skiers going against new opponents as the competition progress. A compact competition programme and entertaining television broadcast have been both evolving over the course of past 30 years, 12 FIS World Championships and over 400 World Cups competitions.
The spectacular nature of mogul skiing has gathered many fans around the globe and it is a clear favourite of the international TV audience. Both moguls & dual moguls events have the highest TV audience ratings at the FIS World Championships.
Furthermore the highest TV rating of any FIS events at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games was the women’s mogul competition. The combined TV exposure for both men’s and women’s moguls competition reached a total of 6.1 % of all the audience for FIS events at the 2018 Games. There is no doubt the recent inclusion of dual moguls into 2026 OWG programme will create a great additional value for both the IOC and FIS, which the sport itself can only benefit from.
“For many years the moguls community did not understand why dual moguls was not included in the Olympic programme, while all the basic requirements were met and the stability of this discipline was proven at various occasions,” said Rinaldi, “After excellent statistical results of moguls at PyeongChang 2018, we established a road map with a clear intention to introduce the DM for Milano-Cortina 2026. My role was to convince the Local Organising Committee that it was an opportunity not to be missed. The Italian Olympic Committee, the Italian Winter Sports Federation as well as the LOC in Livigno – where all freestyle and snowboard competitions will be staged – all understood the importance of this step and supported the candidacy. We know very well the role that local organisers play in this decision and certainly without their support we would have had to wait another four years.
“Now we are in and the community has reacted with so much enthusiasm. The countdown has begun and in less than four years from now we will see the first queen and king of dual moguls at the world’s biggest sport stage.”