The Winter Olympic sports that no one tends to talks about


Photo Credit: Photo via Wikipedia under the Creative Commons License

With the arrival of the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, it is 23rd time athletes will have competed in Winter events starting in 1921.

By: Zachary Pereira, Spring Editor and Reporter

With the arrival of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, Korea, the world is on the edge of their seats supporting their country. However, with each Olympiad, there are always events that get less attention or sports that are lesser known.


One of the oldest Winter Olympic sports, Curling has origins dating back to 16th Century Scotland.  Curling is very similar to shuffle board. It involves pushing of a 44-pound granite stone across a sheet of ice. Teams consist of four players where one pushes the stone and the others sweep around the stone to “Curl” it down the ice into position for scoring. Play begins when a player pushes off from “The Hack” at one end of the ice. Players have until the “Hog Line” to release their stone into play; the “Hog Line” sits about 93 feet away from the center of the target.

Once a stone is in play, players sweep the ice to clear any debris from the stone’s path. This allows the stone to glide more efficiently across the ice making it easier for players to “curl” the stones into potion for scoring. This play goes back and forth for 10 rounds until a winner is declared.

Team USA has only ever secured one medal in curling, a bronze in 2006. Team USA also competes in another style of curling called Mixed Doubles. The games in this style move much quicker as there are only two players per team and 8 rounds instead of 10. Brother and Sister duo Matt and Becca Hamilton have been playing the doubles event or the past several Olympics.

Pyeongchang Performance

In their match against China, Becca and Matt Hamilton suffered a loss their fourth of these Olympics. Team USA got off to a strong start, taking a 2-0 lead in the first round.  The Hamilton pair was able to land two stones close to the button (the center of the target) with no China stones in sight. China began to claw away at the U.S. lead by adding one point in round two, despite strong shooting by Matt Hamilton. In rounds three USA was able to score yet another point making it a 3-1 lead.

The Hamilton’s great shooting went though to rounds four and five. However, China was able to knock there stones away and tie the score 3-3. By round six China’s comeback was complete, claiming their first lead of the match 4-3. USA was able to tie the match 4-4 in round 7, but ultimately suffered defeat losing 6-4 in the last round.


The sport of biathlon involves two widely different sports, Cross-country skiing and rifle shooting. Biathlon’s roots can be traced back to early Scandinavia with the first recorded event taking place in Norway. In 1767 Norwegian army patrol companies competed in the first ever biathlon competition. Biathlon was viewed as a great form of recreation, and also as a way to get the soldiers to train. The Biathlon was made a official Olympic sport for men in 1960 at the Squaw Valley Olympics. However the Women wouldn’t get the right to Biathlon until the 1992 games.

The concept of Biathlon is not difficult to understand, athletes cross-country ski and shoot two or four during the race depending on its distance. Athletes shoot from 50 meters or about 164 feet in either the standing or prone position flat on the stomach. For every shot missed athletes must ski a loop away from the race of 150 meters (492 feet) or have time added on.  With these penalties, the emphasis becomes more on accuracy than speed in order to win.

USA Biathlon Performance

The United States have yet to claim any medals in the sport have confidence this Olympics. Unfortunately for the Men,  that medal remains out of reach. In the Men’s 10km event, the highest finishing American was Lowell Bailey finishing 33rd.  Bailey climbed as high as 8th place in the race, thanks to his clean shooting in the first bout. He began to drop as the race continued, he sat in 24th going into the second bout.  Bailey began to drop even more all the way to the finish where he ended up at 33rd.  Although he shot well only missing one target, Bailey did not ski his best which might be the cause of his loss. This shows that biathlon requires perfection in both of its areas.  Although the U.S. has yet to receive a medal, the athletes will continue to train in preparation for a better run.