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Olympics

Team USA Won’t Get Another Crack at an Olympic Team Medal

The alpine mixed team event, one of the most exciting in the skiing lineup, has been nixed from the 2026 Olympics.

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Last week, the International Olympic Committee announced there will be no alpine mixed team event at the 2026 Olympics in Milan Cortina, Italy. The news comes as a major blow to ski racers and fans alike, who have come to view the mixed team parallel event as one of the most exciting and accessible skiing events of the Winter Games.

In the final alpine ski race of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing—the mixed team parallel event—Team USA was poised to win a medal. Mikaela Shiffrin, Paula Moltzan, Tommy Ford, and River Radamus (with AJ Hurt and Luke Winters in the wings) faced Norway in the small final, and smart money was on the U.S. to come out on top and win the bronze medal. After all, Moltzan is a stalwart of World Cup parallel events, Ford was showing a strong comeback from injury, and Radamus was closing out an outstanding Games (having finished fourth in giant slalom a week earlier). Shiffrin had had a tough Olympics, but, well, Shiffrin is Shiffrin.

As Ford wrote on Instagram, “This is our team. We rip.” 

The head-to-head event came down to the last pair—Radamus against Norway’s Timon Haugen. Radamus needed to win and set the fastest men’s time of the heat in order for the U.S. to win bronze. It was a tall order, but the close race kept fans engaged.

Paul Moltzan mixed team parallel
Paula Moltzan (left) and Norway’s Maria Therese Tviberg compete in the mixed team parallel small final during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games. Photo by Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

Although the U.S. came up short and Norway won the bronze medal, it was one of the most thrilling alpine races of the Beijing Games. And it was fun for the skiers too—the rare event where alpine skiers come together and work toward a shared goal. After struggling at the Games for the previous two weeks, Shiffrin declared the team event her “absolute favorite memory” of the Beijing Games.

Now the mixed team parallel event is no more. At least not at the Olympics. In their decision to remove the event from the 2026 Olympic lineup, the IOC media team cited “the logistical complexity in delivering the event at Milano Cortina, prioritization of events for athletes, and popularity.”

Also Read: Cut From the U.S. Ski Team, Paula Moltzan Battled Her Way to Beijing

It was the only mixed team event removed from the 2026 Olympic program, while one was added for skeleton.

Moltzan spoke for many when she said she was “extremely bummed to see the team event left out of the 2026 Olympics.”

“It is a fun and exciting event to compete in,” she said via email. “I also think it is a more viewer friendly event to watch (you can immediately tell who won or lost a heat). All of my friends and family said it was their favorite event to watch during the Olympic coverage.”

Radamus agreed, adding that the event’s head-to-head format “has the ability to engage the uninitiated viewer better than any other alpine event.”

“I do understand that the team event needs improvements to be more fair and comprehensible,” he added. “But I feel eliminating it completely after [two] Games is premature and unfortunate.” 

The mixed team event is not completely dead. It’s on both the 2023 World Championship and World Cup Finals schedules next winter.

Alpine Combined Hangs in the Balance

Additionally, the IOC announced that the alpine combined event was included provisionally on the 2026 Olympic program, with further review and a final decision coming within the next 10 months.

The combined is the original alpine event at the Winter Olympics. At the 1936 Games—alpine’s Olympic debut—skiers raced in downhill and slalom but received medals only for the combined. At the 1948 Games, combined became its own event, and Gretchen Fraser won silver.

After 1948, the combined was discontinued at the Olympics until 1988. Since then, Americans have won six Olympic medals in the event, with Ted Ligety and Bode Miller taking gold in 2006 and 2010, respectively; and Miller, Julia Mancuso, and Shiffrin winning silver medals in 2002, 2010, and 2018, respectively. Mancuso also claimed an Olympic bronze medal in combined at the 2014 Games.

World Cup combined races have not been held since before the COVID-19 pandemic (although the pandemic had nothing to do with its demise), and the 2022-2023 World Cup calendar features no combined races. But the event is still included on the 2023 world championship schedule, with Shiffrin the reigning women’s combined world champion.

Skiing Events Added

There is hope on the horizon for skiing though. For the second time ever, individual parallel races will be held at the world championships in 2023. Moltzan finished fourth in parallel at the 2021 worlds after battling two-time world GS champion Tessa Worley for bronze in the small final. Could a parallel event make its Olympic debut in 2030?

And moguls skiers were no doubt happy after the IOC announcement last week. Men’s and women’s dual moguls were added to the 2026 Olympic program, giving freestyle skiers a reason to jump for joy.