The 2022 Olympics are officially underway in Beijing, China. In the winter rendition of the Games, there are many sports and events that always steal the show for fans like ice hockey, skiing and snowboarding. However, other events tend to fly under the radar; here are some of the highlights. This link offers a full list of Winter Olympic Games events, but these listed below are some of the less-recognized sports.
Curling is just one of those sports that seems to always be on a random TV somewhere. The sport is played with a large curling stone made of granite being slid across a sheet of ice; the goal is to slide said stone onto the middle of a target at the end of the ice strip, called the “house” according to worldcurling.org.
In order to perfect the shot, the teammates of the person who slides the stone will sweep the ice with a brush in order to warm the surface, which will allow the stone to slide farther. This means that, with no sweeping, the heavy stone will slow down earlier, but with good sweeping the rock will slide farther. The whole idea of this is to be able to adjust the shot after it takes place so the highest score can be achieved.
There are many more rules that are more difficult to understand for the casual Olympics fan, but these are the basics. This year, fourteen teams will be participating. Most are from Europe and North America. This year, however, will be the first time Australia has their own teams.
Luge is a high-speed sport that is basically sledding at the most professional level. Now, make the sled tiny, make the course curve and twist and have the player lay down on it; then, you have luge. Its sister sport, skeleton, is the same exact concept, except this time the person on the sled will go down headfirst (making it much more dangerous) according to an article by the New York Times.
Luge is a very easy event to watch for any level of interest in the Olympics. The concept is simple to grasp and the pace is exciting. According to the official Olympics website, in the men’s singles, women’s singles, doubles and team relay events this year, Germany was able to take home the gold medal in each. Austria secured themselves some hardware of their own, with two silvers and a bronze.
Ski Jumping is a classic event that always draws many eyes to it. Instead of snaking around gates to show off finesse and skill like the Alpine Skiing event, Ski Jumping literally only relies on speed and a little bit of help from gravity. With both the “normal hill” and “large hill” varieties for men’s, women’s and mixed team events, it is always a very competitive event and offers a lot of great opportunities for different countries to take home medals.
Basically, the whole concept of the sport is that the skier tries to build up as much momentum and speed as they can so when they ramp off of the incline, they can fly the farthest out of the competition. The athlete who lands the farthest wins the event.
Although the Ski Jumping festivities have only just started, there are still a ton of interesting medal winners in these aforementioned events. Slovenia, a smaller country in the southern part of Europe, has already secured two gold medals and a bronze medal in Ski Jumping alone.
The Netherlands has seen spectacular success this year in Speed Skating, which is an event that is explained fairly simply; racers race around a track made of ice to secure the fastest time. The Netherlands has so far taken home four gold medals, two silver medals and a bronze medal all from speed skating.
Like every other sport in the Olympics, there are different events that take place based on distance. Both the men’s and the women’s teams have seperate events that range from the short 500m up to the stamina-reliant 5000m.
As of writing this, Austria leads the pack in total overall medals with 13, with Canada, Norway, ROC and the US not far behind. You can find DraftKing’s updating medal tracker for Beijing 2022 at this link.
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