Freestyle skiing star Mikael Kingsbury declared qualifying for the men's moguls final "the icing on the cake" as the defending champion began his Beijing 2022 campaign with a flawless run.

Kingsbury, who won gold at Pyeongchang 2018, suffered a broken back in 2020, fracturing his T4 and T5 vertebrae in training.

He has returned to top form, however, and is heavily fancied to retain his Olympic title after achieving a score of 81.15 at Genting Snow Park in the Zhangjiakou zone on Thursday to qualify automatically for Saturday's final in first place.

Kingsbury has won the most medals at the Freestyle World Championships of any male skier in history and is the reigning world champion in the moguls.

But to be back in contention at the Winter Games is extra special for the Canadian after his injury hell.

"It's been a tough year and a half," Kingsbury told "And even though we're all wearing masks, it's awesome to be competing.

"I've been dreaming of going to the Olympics since I was a kid and just to be here is so amazing, it's a huge accomplishment just to be able to ski on the Olympic course and to do well is the icing on the cake.

"I'm just very satisfied with my skiing and the progression that I made to the Olympics. And now I feel ready to compete and to perform. And I think the results show today."

Reflecting on his performance, he said: "Great run, difficult conditions, very cold. I did the job that I wanted, I didn't try to do too much. I just did exactly what I needed to do for qualification.

"I know I'm capable of better skiing and jumping a bit better, but for right now, I'm satisfied, and I get a good day off tomorrow to chat with my coaches and come up with a plan to come from stronger for Saturday."

The 2022 Winter Olympics kick-off in Beijing on Friday, with 109 medal events to look forward to.

While several of these events are sports that many will only watch every four years when the Winter Games come around, some will be ones that quite a few will never have seen before, or at least not at the Olympics.

There will be seven new events at Beijing 2022, with some mixed team events – something that has been an increasing trend for the Olympics – and a new women's bobsled event among others.

Stats Perform is here to give you a brief guide to these debutants, so all you have to do is look forward to watching them.

Women's Monobob

This becomes the fourth bobsled event at the Olympics, along with the two-man, two-woman and four-man competitions.

You would have thought the obvious next step would be a four-woman event, but this iteration could be even more fascinating as the monobob – you may have guessed – is for just one athlete.

One other key feature in this discipline is that unlike the two and four-person events, all monobob competitors will race in sleds with identical specifications.

Two of the favourites for the Gold medal are American duo Elana Meyers Taylor and Kaillie Humphries, the two most decorated women in Olympic bobsled history with three medals each.

Freeski Big Air (men's and women's)

The snowboard big air event was introduced four years ago in PyeongChang, and such was its success that freeskiers now have their own version.

Like the snowboard event, the course has one big jump and competitors have three attempts at performing tricks to try and impress the judges, with their two best scores counting to their overall total.

Freeski Big Air has gained popularity at the Winter X Games among other competitions before now, but will finally be an Olympic event this year, with most eyes on the battle for gold on the women's side and one of the favourites Eileen Gu, who has decided to represent China instead of the US.

Mixed team snowboard cross

This event involves one male and one female competitor, with the men starting the race and the women finishing it, tagging over once the male competitor has crossed the finish line.

The two best teams from each of the four heats will advance to the semi-finals, with the two best from each semi-final going on to the final.

The American duo of Lindsey Jacobellis and Mick Dierdorff will be among the favourites after winning the 2019 world championships.

Mixed team ski jumping

While men's team ski jumping has been one of the more popular events since it debuted at the 1988 Games in Calgary, we now have a mixed version.

Four athletes for each team - two men and two women - perform a jump in the order of woman, man, woman, man. All individual scores will be added together to get the overall team score.

Slovenia were victorious in the first mixed team event of the Ski Jumping World Cup season in Willingen, Germany on Friday.

Mixed team aerials

This is another freestyle skiing event that consists of three athletes, including either two men and one woman or one man and two women, and as with the ski jump event, the teams overall score comes from adding up the individual efforts.

The event has been a part of the FIS Freestyle Skiing World Cup programme since the 2014-15 season and the FIS World Championships since 2019.

The Russian Olympic Committee are among the favourites for the event, having won the World Championship this year with their team of Pavel Krotov, Liubov Nikitina and Maxim Burov, who was the individual world champion in 2019 and 2021.

Mixed team short track relay

Two men and two women per country participate as a team of four in a speed skating relay situation.

The two women go first for two and a half laps each, followed by the two men for the same distance, then the women for two laps each, and again the men for the same for an overall distance of 2000 metres.

One interesting factor is that should an athlete fall, their team-mate of the same gender can tag in and finish the relay leg.

This is the third relay event at the Winter Games along with the men's 5000m and women's 3000m relays.

Hosts China will be the favourites heading in after obliterating the 2,000m mixed relay world record at the Short Track Speed Skating World Cup in October.

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