The 2018 Winter Olympics is about to conclude in a couple of days. But are you aware of all the different sports that are listed by the Winter Olympics? The different skiing and skating sports are known to most of us. While snowboarding is also not an alien sport to many. We’ve seen it many times on the telly and have had glimpses of references in different places.
The skiing specific games include Alpine Skiing, Cross-Country Skiing, Freestyle Skiing, Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined that involves different techniques and styles of skiing. In the skating category, Figure Skating, Speed Skating, Short Track Speed Skating and Ice Hockey which combine a sport or an art form with skating. But there are a few more sports that you may not be well versed with. So let’s brief you through swiftly.
It’s one of the most entertaining sport that combines Nordic Skiing with Rifle Shooting. The origin of this sport can be found in Norway back about thousands of years ago. The Biathlon was used as a training exercise for soldiers where they used spears instead of rifles. But long before the Scandinavian hunters could have been the source of inspiration for inventing the sport as they often hunted with spears while travelling on skis.
The sport was introduced into the Olympics officially in 1924. Biathlon involves the participants to complete a racing course on cross-country skiing and stop for a round of rifle shooting. Missing targets involve different penalties according to the competition format. The most challenging aspect of the sport is to keep your body composed after the skiing race to shoot with precision.
Bobsledding has its roots in the Swiss Alps in the late 1860s. The thrilling sport involves teams to push their sledge over a hill and jumping onto it just before the gravity performs its function. This dangerous but engaging sport finds its name from the initial bobbing by the crew to gain speed. The sport made its debut in the Olympic arena officially in the year 1924.
The sport has 2 different variants. One is a 2 man bobsled where one rides the sledge car and the other acts as a brakesman. The other is a 4 man bobsled where one rides the sledge, 2 athletes push the sledge car and the last is the brakesman. There are four runs that take place over a period of 2 days and the total fastest time decides the winning team.
After the life-risking sport let’s take a look at an indoor sport where there’s less thrill but no less fun. Curling is a winter sport where players slide stones on a sheet of ice towards a target. The target looks similar to any dart/ shooting, archery target. But it’s much larger and on the floor. The aim is to get maximum points by targeting the granite stones to stop in the centre of the target.
The athlete that initiates the sliding is the curler who can induce a curved path for the stone by using technique and force. Also, two teammates known as sweepers can alter the movements of the stone while travelling on the ice sheet to strategically gain more or optimal points. Curling is one of the oldest sports in the winter Olympics. It was first recorded in Scotland way back in 1540.
People often get confused between the 3 sledging sports, Bobsleigh, Luge and Skeleton. We’ve had a brief look at the thrilling bobsledding. In Luge, athletes start off by sitting down on the sledge and push themselves using their hands. As they gain speed induced by the steepness of the track they lay on the sledge with their backs down.
The athletes try their best to lay as flat as possible while controlling the direction with their legs. The sledge during its course can hit a speed of even 90 mph, earning the label of the fastest ice sport. The term ‘Luge’ means ‘Sledge’ in French and has an ancient history of being used as the most efficient way of transport. It was formally introduced as an Olympic sport in 1964.
This winter sport also involves a sliding downhill on a sledge. But how it’s different from Luge is that the athlete is required to go head first. Meaning the athlete pushes the sledge with quick run till he reaches the top of the hill. Then he lies flat on his stomach and slides down the hill headfirst. They also do not have any brakes or steering mechanism in their sledge. This makes the sport even more dangerous than Luge as they have control direction and speed only with their body.
This sport also took birth in Switzerland in the late 1800s. The game had brief stints in the Winter Olympics in 1928 and 1948. But it became a regular event only after 2002.
And that’s where the list of sports that are a part of the Winter Olympics ends.