Do you know your Olympic sports?

by Connor Smith
Olympic sports like skiing, snowboarding and figure skating need no explanation. But other sports unfamiliar to most viewers of the games can play an important role in the final medal counts.
Here are student guesses about some of the unusual sports to be contested at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, between Feb. 7 and Feb. 23.

Q: What is Nordic combined? A: “I think the Nordic combined is a dessert from a French restaurant.”
-freshman Julia DiGiacomo
Not even close! Nordic combined is a sport that blends cross-country skiing and ski jumping. In the individual event, the athlete first takes two jumps and is scored for distance and style. The athlete then participates in a 15-km cross-country ski race. In the team event, there are four members on a team and they each take a jump and participate in a 4 x 5- km cross-country ski relay.
Countries to watch in the Nordic combined event are Austria, Norway, Finland and the United States.
Q: What is luge?
A: “If I had to guess, I would say that a luge is a type of house deck.”
-junior Michael Iarrapino
Try again! Luge involves racing on a one- or two-person sled. Luge athletes lie face down and steer by exerting pressure with their right or left calf, depending on which direction they want to steer.
One person prior to the 2010 Winter Olympic games in Vancouver, Canada reached a top speed of 95.69 mph in a trial run. Luge came into the news during the last Winter Olympics as Georgian Nodar Kumaritashvili suffered a fatal crash while training for the games.
Luge teams to watch during the Olympics include Germany, Canada and Italy.
Q: What is curling?
A: “I think curling is something similar to crunches.”
-senior Elise Xu.
No, you can’t do this to get better abs! Curling is a sport in which players slide granite stones weighing up to 44 pounds across a sheet of ice and attempt to get the stone to stop within four  rings. Brooms are used by players who slide up the ice and smooth the path to allow the stone to reach the rings.
Each four-person team plays ten ends during a game. An end is completed once each team gets a chance to throw the stone eight times.
“Curling involves strategy, athleticism, teamwork and socializing all wrapped into one sport,” said digital photography teacher Lyn Steeger, who curls at the Plainfield Curling Club.
Some curling teams to watch during the Olympic season are Canada, Great Britain, Sweden and Norway.