The year is 1980. You’re either at home glued to the TV or in Lake Placid, New York watching a ragtag team of U. college students beat the dominant Soviet Union on the ice. With no seconds left you’re either going crazy in the crowd or hearing Al Michaels shout ,“DO YOU BELIEVE IN MIRACLES?!” Hockey is a staple sport for the olympics, but what sports are not so known in the olympics. Sledding sports have been around for a while, and yet they always slept on.

 Courtesy of abc news

Bobsledding was first played in upstate New York in 1880. The sport was first introduced in the Olympics in 1923. The goal of the game is to get down a course with a certain amount of turns as fast as possible. It starts with two or four people sprinting and pushing their sled down the hill. Then they jump in the sled and head down the 1600 meter long hill. The start of the race is very important. The sledders must build up the most speed they can, usually reaching a speed of 160 kilometers per hour. The country that has dominated bobsledding the most is Germany with 13 gold medals. In 2018 the German bobsledding team got yet another gold medal. They are looking to dominate once again this year as the German doubles team is expected to win gold once again in 2022.

Luge 101: Competition Format | NBC Olympics

Courtesy of NBC Olympics

The classic sport of luge also known as luge tobogganing was started in 1883. The sport was first introduced in the Olympics in 1964. The sport is also played on a bobsledding course with the same turns. The single rider starts by sitting on top of the sled and holding onto two bars. Then he or she will pull himself back and push forward; in the first couple of seconds they’ll use their hands to create a little more momentum. Then they will lay down and then they’ll just try to get down the hill as fast as possible. The united Germany have the most gold medals: West Germany with 5 East Germany with 4. The expected favorite is Natalie Geisenberger in women’s singles from Germany. Luge’s sister sport, skeleton sledding, was created in 1884 in St. Moritz, Switzerland. It was first introduced in the Olympics in 1928. The sport is played by the rider pushing the sled and sprinting at the start, then jumping onto the sled on their stomach going around turns and trying to finish with the fastest time. The country with the most medals is Great Britain with 9 total medals. Watch out for Yun Sung-bin for South Korea as he won gold in the last olympics.

Courtesy of wikipedia

Curling was first played in the early 16th century in Scotland. The sport was first seen in the Olympics in 1924. There are two teams of 4, one player slides a round stone trying to get it to the center of a circle on a sheet of ice. People on the other team sweep the ice in front of the round stone to try and smooth the surface of the ice so the round stone can keep sliding. You get a point by having the stone closer to the circle than your opponent; the team that has the most points at the end wins. Canada has the most medals in the sport with 11. Canada is ready to add another as Canada’s mixed doubles are favored

Courtesy of 148th Fighter Wing

Finally but certainly not least the Olympic sport of biathlon. Biathlon was founded in 1767 in Norway and was first played in the Olympics in the year 1924. The skiers start off just by cross country skiing. Then there are certain intervals where riders will stop and shoot targets from 50 meters away. Norway has the most medals in biathlon with 28. Tiril Eckhoff has won 5 medals and is looking to help Norway get its 29th as she is favored to get another medal.

These sports are definitely out of the ordinary but very interesting and very fun. These are the sports that make the winter Olympics unique.  When you’re bored on February 4th just think of sitting down and enjoying some of America’s favorite pastimes: biathlon, luge, skeleton, bobsledding, and curling.

Posted by evan464

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