Curling, Skeleton, What? Beginner’s Guide to 5 Winter Sports

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Photo Courtesy of Stefan Krasowski, licensed through Flickr via Creative Commons

Photo Courtesy of Stefan Krasowski, licensed through Flickr via Creative Commons

Here’s a “hot sports take” — positioning a controversial opinion on a trending, relevant topic. That opinion? Amidst all the clutter, all the pomp, and all the overbearing jingoism, the Olympics are actually pretty cool. It’s got some of the best athletes in the world, it’s held in interesting places (and Salt Lake City), and it acts as a nice exposition of sports that aren’t readily available to the average viewer — especially the Winter Olympics, since many countries don’t experience much, if any snowfall during the season at all.

Unfortunately, since watching and learning about the events puts viewers at the mercy of NBC programmers — should they deign to actually show it — the Games are handled by either of their decidedly blithe hosts, Bob Costas or Matt Lauer. Point is, it’s hard to pick up on a sport if you’re not already in it to the eyebrows, and during the event, no one’s really going to explain anything aside from the announcers — and Olympic announcers are a mixed bag. For every Skiatholon announcer, there’s someone who can’t even fake excitement let alone elucidate viewers on the ins and outs of the sport.

That’s not super. To enhance your viewing experience, here’s a brief overview of five sports that get a lot of Olympic coverage but are kind of hard to find between Winter Games. Enjoy.

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