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What are the rules of super-G?

While Mikaela Shiffrin has never raced the Alpine skiing discipline super-G at an Olympics before, she did win it at the 2019 world championships.

WASHINGTON — After early mistakes cost Mikaela Shiffrin in her two best races, the two-time Olympic champion will hope for a "reset" in super-G.  

While Shiffrin has never raced that event at an Olympics before, she did win it at the 2019 world championships.

Alpine skiing at the Olympics has multiple disciplines that go beyond just seeing who gets down the mountain the fastest without crashing or skiing off course. From slalom to downhill to the exhausting super-G and alpine combined, here is a look at the differences between each form.


Super-G means super giant slalom

It combines the speed of downhill but the technical turning necessary of the giant slalom. The course winds more than the downhill course, but the gates are spaced out more so that the skiers can pick up speed.

How many runs are there in super-G? 

Each skier makes just one run down the course and the fastest time wins. 

The super-G course for the Beijing Olympics is 1,984 meters long and includes a vertical drop of 540 meters. 

While slalom and giant slalom are considered "technical" events, super-G is considered one of the "speed" events. 

While Shiffrin will surely be one of the biggest names to watch during the competition, another athlete to keep an eye on is Ester Ledecka. She became the first competitor to win gold in two different sports at the same Winter Games four years ago in South Korea. She has a chance to repeat the feat in China.

Earlier this week, she successfully defended her title in snowboard parallel giant slalom, so she just needs to win in super-G to complete another unprecedented 'double-double.'


The slalom is the shortest course in alpine skiing. It also has the most turns. Skiers have to navigate from one gate to the next. Cutting a turn too close or missing a gate altogether will incur a time penalty which could be the difference between a gold medal and no medal at all. Each skier makes two runs down the slalom course.

Giant Slalom

It's basically what it sounds like. It's a longer slalom course and the gates are spaced further apart. This is also a two-run event.

Credit: AP
Mikaela Shiffrin of United States loses control and skis off course during the first run of the women's giant slalom at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Monday, Feb. 7, 2022, in the Yanqing district of Beijing. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)


This event is all about speed -- get down the course in the fastest time possible. 

While there are gates on the outside, they mainly serve as markers to identify the course route. Skiers work to steer clear of touching them since it making contact would slow them down. That's different from slalom and giant slalom when skiers are focusing more on making tight turns around the gates and, as a result, hit them regularly.

Alpine Combined

The alpine combined consists of one downhill run and one slalom run, both of which are completed on the same day. While the downhill can be performed on a super-G course, according to Olympics.com, the Beijing 2022 schedule has the events listed as downhill and slalom.

Mixed Team

The mixed team competition made its debut in 2018. Skiers go down, side-by-side, on identical slalom courses -- men vs. men and women vs. women. After each round, teams are knocked out until the medals are decided.

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