Something New This Olympics

Have you ever turned on the Olympics and said to yourself, “Woah, that sport exists?” Maybe you saw a group of men furiously scrubbing an odd looking broom in front of a swiftly moving blob on ice. Perhaps you spotted a graceful, lean skier carrying…a shotgun?

If you haven’t seen these crazy cold-weather sports, you’re missing out. Sure, you’re used to catching all the figure skating, speed skating and maybe even some bobsleighing, but what about all those other bizarre and fascinating sports? What’s something new that you can experience this winter Olympics?

Start exploring now by reading about ALL of them on one of our newest pages, Sports of the 2014 Winter Olympics: http://ow.ly/tkiUL

Sports involving cross-country skiing—including Nordic combined (above) and biathlon—require incredible cardio and muscular endurance. Photograph by Kevin Pedraja, courtesy Wikimedia. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Photograph by Kevin Pedraja, courtesy Wikimedia. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

What else will you gain from checking out our winter Olympics page?

1. SUPER cool facts

Speed skating is the fastest human powered, non-mechanical aided sport in the world. Skaters can reach speeds of more than 37.3 miles (60 kilometers) per hour!

To brake their luge in the individual luge competition, athletes have to actually sit up and grab the sled’s blades—this is all after speeding 16.2 miles ( 25.9 kilometers) per hour down an icy chute.

2. Discover incredible global history

The winter sport biathlon, a combination of cross-country skiing and rifle shooting, was originally a way for people in northern Europe to hunt for food. They became so skilled at it that Scandinavian armies began using skis to defend against their enemies in the mid-16th century!

The first known ski jumper was a Norwegian lieutenant. In 1809, he launched himself 31.2 feet in the air before an audience of other, probably dumbfounded, soldiers.

3. Awesome photos of athletes in action

Photograph by DVIDSHUB, courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Tim Hipps. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

4. A heads up to the newest Olympics events

The luge mixed team relay, half-pipe freestyle skiing, figure skating team competition and more will all have their debut at the 2014 winter Olympics in Sochi!

5. Your next greatest passion

Maybe you’ll realize you’ve fallen in love with short track speed skating or Nordic combined. Maybe you’ll simply find a new passion for the outdoors, cold weather or Sochi, Russia! Any way you put it, it’s never a bad time to discover new things, and the Olympics are just about the coolest way to do that. So this winter Olympics, take a chance on a new sport. Because who knows? Maybe years from now you’ll be the medalist!

Happy Olympics everyone!

By Rebecca Bice, National Geographic Education

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