By: Kyle Isaacs ~Staff Writer~
Once every four years a spectacle like no other takes center stage and re-introduces the world to unique cold-weather sporting events: the Winter Olympics.
The 22nd Winter Olympiad will kick off with the opening ceremony on Feb. 7 in Sochi, Russia.
The Games will last for 16 days, with over 2,500 of the world’s best athletes from 88 different countries participating in a wide variety of sports.
To better equip you before the start of the festivities, let us dive deeper into some of the most exciting, yet unheralded events in the Winter Olympic Games.
hort Track Speed Skating
This fast-paced event has been a part of the Olympics for over 20 years but gained notoriety in the mid-2000s when American speed skater Apolo Ohno skated his way to eight medals between 2002 and 2010.
This sport includes both individual and team relays, with the distances remaining under 5,000 meters.
The most intriguing aspect of speed skating is the hairpin turns skaters must make in order to shave seconds off their time.
More often than not, a slip by one skater can turn catastrophic, resulting in a collision that inevitably shakes up the standings.
The first meet will occur on Feb. 10, so if you have a few minutes to sit down and enjoy this high-intensity sport, I highly recommend doing so.
Childhood memories of wintertime predictably include sledding down a neighborhood hill, attempting to go as fast as possible to beat your friends.
In much the same way, skeleton is a single-athlete sport in which competitors travel down a luge track on a sled.
The riders use their head and shoulders to maneuver their sled, attempting to keep control while sledding down the track at speeds more than 75 mph.
The United States placed first in total medal count for the skeleton at the 2010 Winter Olympics, so cheer on your favorite American athlete as they slide down the track at top speeds.
Considered to be the “hottest” sport in the 2010 Olympics, curling has gained worldwide recognition for its unique setup and style of play.
For those not familiar with the sport, curling involves two to four athletes sliding stones across a sheet of ice towards a target, similar to that of shuffleboard.
The most intriguing part of this event is what occurs after one player releases the “rock,” because it is in this moment where his or her teammates slide down the ice with the stone, clearing a path for it with their brooms.
Through alternating turns, each team attempts to knock their opponent’s stones out of the circle, thus enabling them to score more points.
As if you needed any more reason to watch this sport, simply go online and check out Team Canada’s uniforms.
This year’s Olympic Games has been marred with controversy leading up to the opening ceremonies, ranging from financial issues, stadium construction and the Russian government’s stance on various social issues.
But once the torch is lit on Friday at Fisht Olympic Stadium, tension will hopefully subside, leaving the bright lights on the athletes competing for gold.
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