Friday, February 12, 2010

ski like a girl: Let the Games begin!

Today marks the start of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.  For the next 17 days ski like a girl will be focusing on the athletes, the games, and the passion.  Immersing myself in all things Olympic.  I have 2 DVR’s ready to go and have signed up for unlimited online Olympic coverage so I don’t miss a minute of the excitement.  I’m a skier so I’m primarily focusing on the skiers, and I’m a girl so I’m mostly focusing on the girls (you get the idea).  But like most people I’m a sucker for a good back story.  Show me an athlete that’s had to overcome some sort of tragedy, come back from a debilitating injury, or had sell their car to compete and I’m all in!  I like the drama.  I love the underdog. 

In case you aren't a skier or maybe you are a skier but you are new to competitive skiing here is a breakdown of all the Alpine Events.  Alpine skier go fast, very fast.  Faster than you or I (legally) drive. Racers can reach speeds of more than 80 miles per hour, traveling down a steep, icy pitch. This is made even more difficult because of a series of gates the skiers must pass through. Skiers who miss a gate must then climb back up and go through the missed gate or be disqualified.  Since races are won or lost by less than a 10th of a second, miss a gate and you’re out.  Miss a gate and you may be airlifted off of the course.  Crashes in a micro thin speed suit can be brutal.



The 2010 Olympics looks to be the year of the female downhill skier, Lindsey Vonn.  Featured in Sports Illustrated in two consecutive issues. She is slated to compete in all five of the alpine skiing events and is favored to win three of them.  Downhill, Super-G, and the Super-combined are Lindsey’s races.   News has recently come out about a shin injury that may hold her back but injury has never been a deal breaker for this determined athlete.  In the 2006 Olympics, Lindsey wiped out during a practice run was airlifted of the mountain, hospitalized, and then checked herself out to compete.   She is in it to win in 2010!

There are five Alpine events.  Downhill has longest course and the highest speeds in alpine skiing.  Super-G, for super giant slalom combines the speed of downhill with the more precise turns of giant slalom. Slalom has the shortest course with the quickest turns. Giant Slalom is similar to the slalom, with fewer, wider and smoother turns. And like slalom two runs down two different courses on the same slope. Super Combined consists of one downhill run and one slalom run using a shorter course.

Olympic freestyle skiing events include Aerials, Moguls, and this year’s new comer Ski Cross.   Aerial skiers fly through the air performing twists and flips. Moguls involves racing down a hill of large bumps, (moguls) making quick turns with two jumps thrown in the mix.  Although not officially a contact sport, Ski cross has been compared to a mix of roller derby and cage fighting.  Four skiers leaving the gates at the same time at high speeds.  There are crashes. It’s the made for TV event of the games.

Follow along with me and enjoy the games.  First up are the Women’s Moguls on Saturday the 13th!  US Freestyle team member, Shannon Bahrke has promised to die her hair completely pink if she wins the Gold!

xoxo,
ski girl
p.s.  Click HERE for a complete schedule to all of the Olympic events.

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