Author: Michael Darling
The Winter Olympics opening ceremonies kicked off Friday, Feb. 12 in Vancouver by the Governor General of Canada MichaÃlle Jean. Unfortunately, there’s a common perception that the Winter Games are filled with events that are unusual and perhaps a bit too niche. Although this is true, a few of these events are thoroughly entertaining. Here are a few “cool” sports you should take some time out to watch.
On Saturday, Feb. 13, Apolo Ohno won the silver medal in the 1500 meter race. This medal makes him the most decorated American male in Winter Olympics history. Additionally, American Shani Davis is currently the fastest man on ice and holds the world record in both the 1000 and 1500 meter race. Speed skating events will be held everyday from Feb. 13-27.
Skicross is a new event this year and an exciting addition to the games. It’s a downhill ski race on an obstacle course. The course features terrain and jumps both natural and artificial. Skiers race at high speeds and make huge jumps as they race down. This mad dash to the finish typically ends with fewer people crossing the finish line than originally started the race. Skicross events will be held on Feb. 21 and 23.
The Biathlon somehow finds a way to combine cross-country skiing and rifle shooting. Skiers go around a cross-country track, and the total distance is broken up by two or four shooting rounds. For the first time in a while, the United States has a chance of getting a medal in this event. Biathlete Tim Burke is the first American to wear the leader jersey in the sport’s World Cup. In all, ten gold medals will be offered in this sport. Biathlon events will be held Feb. 13, 14, 16, 18, 21, 23 and 26.
Curling is an odd fusion of bowling, shuffle board and housekeeping. Players throw a rock down the ice to a colored target area called the house. Along the way, other members of the team use brooms to sweep the ice in front of the rock in hopes of keeping it moving. Everyday from Feb. 16-27 is a day for curling, and the U.S. men’s team is looking to improve upon its bronze metal finish from 2006.
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