With the Winter Olympics Games beginning this Friday, February 7th, I thought I’d talk a little bit about some of the major sports we’ll see over the two to three weeks at this sporting event. By my count (based on my calculations), there are about 15 major winter sporting events in this year’s Olympics. I won’t talk about all of them, but just mention a few.
Alpine skiing, also known as downhill skiing, is perhaps the sport people most associate with (connect to) winter. Skiers wear skis — long, thin pieces of a hard material such as metal, wood, or fiberglass — and slide very quickly down hills.
Figure and freestyle skating are usually indoor sports where skaters move over ice in graceful (elegant; not clumsy) movements doing very high and very fast turns and jumps. There are individual competitions, pair skating (with two people), and ice dancing. Since I’m pretty clumsy (not graceful) in real life, trying to dance on ice on a pair of ice skates is my ultimate nightmare (the worst thing I can imagine), but I still enjoy watching other people do it.
Now for a few less commonly talked about winter sports:
Curling is a sport where people move a stone over ice toward a target (place that you try to hit or reach) with the help of brooms (normally used for moving dirt on the floor when cleaning it) to change the stones’ direction and speed. I’ve wondered what I should be doing with that broom in my house. Now I know.
Luge is a very fast-moving sport, where one or two people place themselves in a supine position (laying down, facing the sky) and feet forward in a sled (small vehicle for moving over ice) moving on a downhill course (path). Speeds can reach nearly 90 miles (140 kilometers) per hour!
Another sport that requires sliding is the skeleton. The skeleton also involves a sled, but the athlete lays face down, head first and travels down a frozen path. This is also a very fast and dangerous sport. Note to self (reminder for myself): Don’t buy a sled.
I’ll mention just one more sport you may see in the Olympics: the biathlon. A biathlon can actually refer to any sporting event that combines two sports (also popular are triathlon (three events), pentathlon (five events), and decathlon (10 events)). In the Winter Olympics, the biathlon involves cross-country skiing (skiing across fairly flat land, not down big hills) and rifle shooting. (A rifle is a gun you shoot from your shoulder that has a long barrel or hollow piece of wood or metal that the bullet travels through.) The athlete must cross-country ski to each target and either lay prone (on his/her stomach) or stand to shoot at it, then travel to the next target, and so on.
Do you participate in any of these sports? Which sports are you most interested in seeing in the Winter Olympics?
Photo Credit: Snowboarding from Wikipedia