CHARLES FREY ’19 | STAFF WRITER • It’s that time of the four year cycle again, and the countries of the world have assembled for the greatest spectacle in winter sports. The snow is packed and the Winter Olympics are underway in PyeongChang, South Korea. The globe’s top winter athletes will be competing for the top spot on the podium to bring glory eternal for their homeland.
While we are just as excited as the next person to see America represented on the national stage, we can’t help but notice some of the obscure events that our athletes compete in. How have these sports become regulars at the biggest event in the world, and how did they become sports to begin with? The Winter Olympics already have substantially fewer events than the Summer Olympics (by a ratio of almost 1:3. It could only be assumed that the organizers were grasping for new ideas. Now, that’s not to say the Summer Olympic organizers weren’t either, because they include an entire swath of games devoted to horse sport.
We digress. Below are The Bachelor’s Top Five Weirdest Winter Sports
that you can watch during this year’s Olympic Games.
5.) Ski Jumping: Who doesn’t love to go real fast down a big hill then jump off it? The athletes in this extreme sport are the closest humans have ever come to flying without an airplane. Averaging about eight seconds of hang time, these thrill seekers can travel more than
65 miles per hour utilizing the laws
of aerodynamics and gravity to the
best of their ability. If you’ve already missed out on the first two days of this fascinating display of athleticism, you can catch the Ladies’ Hill Individual at 7:30 a.m. this Saturday, February 10.
4.) Luge: French for “sledge,” luge allows one or two athletes to race against the clock down a slick track
on a sled, utilizing nothing but their calf muscles for steering. Face up and feet first, lugers can reach speeds of
up to 90 mph down an icy, winding track. Despite the fact that there are no airbags, seatbelts, or virtually any safety measure besides a helmet, luge is a surprisingly safe extreme sport, having only four fatalities in the last 55 years. If you missed it, Luge will continue on for a majority of Saturday, with the first official run occurring at 11:30 a.m.
3.) Skeleton: Imagine luge, but instead of going down the track feet first, you get to experience the track inches away from your face. Beginning with a run instead of a push and a dive on top of the sled, skeleton athletes superman their way down the track for time – usually reaching speeds of 80 mph. Let’s not forget that the literal name of this sport is “Skeleton,” as in “let’s rattle your bones down this hill,” or “one wrong move and this is what you’ll be.” If you’d like to see ultimate sledding, the next opportunity is Monday at 7:35 p.m. on NBCSN.
2.) Biathlon: As if cross country skiing
wasn’t hard enough, shooting targets throughout the tundra trek adds that extra je ne sais quoi to what could have been just a simple race. Penalties accrue for each missed target (there are 5 per stop, 2 or 4 stops depending on the length of the event). The penalties range from extra laps on the course to added seconds to the athlete’s final time. Pros about the sport: guns and skis. Cons: snow and cold. If you’d like to see America win in at least one portion of the competition, tune in at 1 p.m. for the Women’s 7.5km Sprint.
1.) Curling: Like shuffleboard, but on ice and the puck is a 44-lb stone. Also, your friends sweep the ice in front of the puck. Also, the ice on the rink is bumpy instead of smooth. Honestly, this sport just needs to be seen to enjoy. If you don’t watch anything else this Olympic cycle, tune into the Curling competition literally any day of the week. Don’t miss it, really.