Which Winter Olympic sports do you love to watch?

ConigliarosPotential

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As more of a general thread, I'll kick this one off...I'll watch a lot of curling, and of course ice hockey. I'll find time to watch a fair amount of alpine skiing, particularly the men's downhill (as the traditional curtain-raiser for the Games). I used to watch a decent amount of ski jumping through the World Cup season, and while that's no longer the case, I'll try to catch the finals if possible. And my wildcards every year are always the ski cross and especially the snowboard cross, which feel like sports created to become a video game crossovers and in which anything and everything can happen in any given race.

What do you fancy?
 

Lose Remerswaal

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Each sport you listed I nodded at and then realized there isn't a single Winter games sport I don't enjoy watching other than maybe figure skating*, and it's because we just don't see these other sports (other than hockey, which I always like) the rest of the year. I'll always watch curling ("I could totally do that") and I'll always watch biathalon and the sliding sports. etc. etc. etc.

Whereas with the summer games there are so many sports I just won't watch at all, like the boating races (other than whitewater canoeing), most of the long distance running, and any of the judged sports (boxing, gymnastics, diving, etc).

* see comment about judged sports
 

jungleboy

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I've covered ski jumping at the last three Winter Olympics (although I'm not going to this one, sadly), so that's always a highlight for me. Alpine skiing is the winter sport that I'm most into - I watch the World Cup on a weekly basis and I used to write statistical previews for each race for FIS. My third main winter sport is skeleton because I just think it's so cool. I used to do some statistics data control for skeleton for a sports data company and I also wrote some facts and figures stuff on it for them. I also attended the world championships a few years ago in St. Moritz.

I'm not a photographer but at some of these events I've been fortunate to be allowed into the best photo positions which help you appreciate the amazing aspects of some of these sports:


 

BaseballJones

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Ice hockey
Any alpine ski racing
Short track speed skating - that's a crazy sport
Snowboard cross racing - I love that
 

CoffeeNerdness

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I'm a former ski racer; so all the skiing events are tops on my list.

I absolutely love Curling. Games are right around 2 - 2.5 hours long and it almost has a baseball-esque rhythm where the drama builds as the game goes along. Great sport.

I enjoy the Biathalon, as well. Nordic skiing and shooting guns? Yeah, I'll watch that.

Gotta love all the sliding sports just because the the fine line between success and failure is so thin it boggles the mind.

Can't wait! The Winter Games are my shit.
 

DrewDawg

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It's all mesmerizing. A little less on the judged events, but still.
 

CoffeeNerdness

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Downhill (the event) actually does have gates. Each event progressively widens the gates as you go from Slalom (tightest) to Downhill (widest). Slalom and Giant Slalom differ from Downhill and Super G in that those courses are built on a per run basis. They're always different and subject to the course builder's design philosophy. Downhill and Super G are set courses which may not even change from year to year.
 

Ale Xander

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Ice Hockey
men-Russia, USA, Sweden, Canada
women-USA, Canada

Curling, women all nations, USA men

Long track speed skating short distances

Figure skating, pairs and women and dance

Alpine skiing, downhill, and super G

Biathlon

X-country skiing only if Trautwig is calling it

Bobsled and Luge last lap fortop people, or more if US is in it.

F it, Drewdawg is right, it's all mesmerizing.

Mainly though Russia hockey and pairs figure skating, and downhill
 
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finnVT

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Anything on skis or skates that isn't judged.

But I'll basically watch anything at the winter olympics, much more so than the summer olympics. I love the swimming at the summer olympics, but otherwise don't get into it that much. When it switches form swimming to track in week 2, I'm done.

Unfortunately for this year given the time zone, I also really love watching the live, unedited events. It's really hard to stay un-spoilered, and even the way NBC cuts the events for primetime tends to give away a ton of the suspense.
 

Mugsy's Jock

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I’ll be the contrarian — I don’t much like any of the Winter Olympics sports. I like hockey some, but ECAC or NHL playoffs is all I would watch on TV. And the rest, well, I’d never watch any of them outside the Olympics. But that said...

...I do enjoy watching many of them in the Olympics. The country-vs-country competition appeals to me, I get irrational jingoistic USA pride, and the networks always do a great job of framing interesting stories about the athletes.

(I did attend a Winter Olympics live once — Calgary ‘86 — and loved everything I saw: biathlon, ski jumping, moguls, hockey, curling. Live sports are great even when you don’t know what’s going on... feeding off the crowd and creating great innovative on-site drinking games.)
 

shaggydog2000

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Men's Ice Hockey - pretty much the highest level of hockey played
Biathlon - I don't really know what is happening, but it's fun as hell
Curling - same

Ski Jumping and the sliding sports are fun for a bit if I catch them, but I wouldn't sit and watch for all that long, or go out of my way to see them.
 

Koufax

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I'm surprised that so many enjoy curling. I do as well, but thought few others did. It does have some similarity to baseball. It has a rhythm that takes some patience to appreciate, but the tension and drama build nicely as the match progresses.
 

gryoung

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Downhill (the event) actually does have gates. Each event progressively widens the gates as you go from Slalom (tightest) to Downhill (widest). Slalom and Giant Slalom differ from Downhill and Super G in that those courses are built on a per run basis. They're always different and subject to the course builder's design philosophy. Downhill and Super G are set courses which may not even change from year to year.
Right. But the gates in downhill are not a significant factor as they are in other events. This event is as close to skiing straight down the fall line as there is.
 

ConigliarosPotential

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Out of all the Summer or Winter Olympic sports - or actually, out of pretty much every sport I know - ski jumping is the one that I wonder the most about how the hell someone gets started. Usually there's a pretty obvious learning curve: to get the basics down pat, first you run, or you jump, or you paddle, or you ski, or you punch, or you lift stuff off the ground, or you do something else that virtually any eight-year-old could do to some extent. But going down a huge ramp on two skis, launching yourself into the air and landing without killing yourself, let alone fixing your body in an aerodynamic pose the whole way and landing with one knee bent and one knee straight (the Telemark), is truly beyond my comprehension.
 

Fred not Lynn

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Ski jumpers start on much smaller hills, and they try to get kids into it before they are old enough to really realize how ridiculous what they’re getting into really is...
 

Jordu

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In my opinion, the single greatest sporting event is the Olympic Men’s Downhill — one run — no gates — fastest one wins — on the edge of disaster. Can’t get much simpler.
Goddam, I was a kid watching on a black & white TV but I still remember it: Fran’s Klammer’s winning downhill run at the 1976 Olympics.

 

Fred not Lynn

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I think the three types of athletes with the biggest balls are, in no particular order; Tour de France cyclists, Bull riders and guys who ski the downhill...
 

Mr. Wednesday

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Downhill (the event) actually does have gates. Each event progressively widens the gates as you go from Slalom (tightest) to Downhill (widest). Slalom and Giant Slalom differ from Downhill and Super G in that those courses are built on a per run basis. They're always different and subject to the course builder's design philosophy. Downhill and Super G are set courses which may not even change from year to year.
I'm fairly certain Super G courses vary; one of the features of the discipline is that there is no practice, only a course inspection.
 

Dollar

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Biathlon is my favorite winter sport to watch, by far. I could watch it for hours on end and not get bored of it. The only other sport where I'll stop what I'm doing to watch it is curling, and then ice hockey and bobsled on occasion after that.
 

jkempa

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Ski jumpers start on much smaller hills, and they try to get kids into it before they are old enough to really realize how ridiculous what they’re getting into really is...
I was up in Lake Placid a few years ago watching a bunch of 8-10 year olds launching themselves off of smaller hills. It was pretty cool.
 

jkempa

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I've covered ski jumping at the last three Winter Olympics (although I'm not going to this one, sadly), so that's always a highlight for me. Alpine skiing is the winter sport that I'm most into - I watch the World Cup on a weekly basis and I used to write statistical previews for each race for FIS. My third main winter sport is skeleton because I just think it's so cool. I used to do some statistics data control for skeleton for a sports data company and I also wrote some facts and figures stuff on it for them. I also attended the world championships a few years ago in St. Moritz.

I'm not a photographer but at some of these events I've been fortunate to be allowed into the best photo positions which help you appreciate the amazing aspects of some of these sports:


Those skeleton shots from St. Moritz are really nice!

It’s a small world - we were probably in St. Moritz at the same time when you were there for the World Championships (what was that weird wooden skier by the ice rink all about?). I used to do quite a bit of skeleton (for someone that really only did it recreationally), but I’ve kind of “retired” to a week a year there (where I’ve left my sled). I bet we know some of the same people.

Oh - in the main spirit of the thread:
* All the sliding sports
* Short Track
* Snowboard and Ski Cross
* Curling
 
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Bob Montgomery's Helmet Hat

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Goddam, I was a kid watching on a black & white TV but I still remember it: Fran’s Klammer’s winning downhill run at the 1976 Olympics.

I remember that like it was yesterday. Incredibly captivating.

I love short track skating. But I pretty much like everything other than the fucking figure skating.
 

Tartan

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So...does anyone here actually like to watch the figure skating?
Yep! I find figure skating (women's, men's, pairs, ice dancing, the whole lot) mesmerizing. I love it. It's the judging part of it that's frustrating. The actual medal results are often arbitrary at best and more than suspicious at worst. But I love watching the sport itself.
 

BigMike

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I'm a big fan of the dowhill skiing events, remember the Klamer run, and of course Billy Johnson in 1984. Obviously Super G is also great, but even all the way down to the precision of slalom

I love long track speed skating. And some of the cross country/biathalon type events

I enjoy a few tastes of short track speed skating, but will admit I get bored quickly

I do enjoy the figure skating; although I get easily frustrated with the scoring, and do feel like it has become more technical and less artistic, especially the singles events.

I enjoy the sledding sports, including luge, I have never warmed up to Skeleton

Ski (and I guess snowboard) Cross are actually fantastic events and love them

I have no interest in the X game sports, Could not cares about the trick events (half pipe, freestyle, Arials, etc)

I really don't get what people see in Curling. I have watched it, and just don't see what people find entertaining.

Hockey we'll see this year. I loved it Pre NHL players. I had almost no interest watching the pro's play. This year seems just like a mess.
 

garlan5

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Curling. (Did the internet increase the popularity? Don't remember it being poplar growing up in the 80s and 90s)
Downhill
Bobsled
Luge
any of the speed skating

hate the X game stuff
 

TheoShmeo

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Men’s ice hockey.

But only if the US or Canada is in contention for a medal.

And even then, relative to any Boston sports game, it’s a 2 out of 10 at best.
 

SumnerH

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Curling. (Did the internet increase the popularity? Don't remember it being poplar growing up in the 80s and 90s)
Curling was only added as an official Olympic sport in 1998 (though it was an exhibition sport a couple of times in ’88 and ’92).
 

streeter88

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All alpine skiing,especially the speed events. Raced from middle school to college so love those events
Aerial skiing, snowboarding and the snowboard cross
Speed skating is fun - shorter events though
And all those crazy bobsled, luge, skeleton sports. Where do you ever get to see that in real life?
Most of the events are fun to watch to be honest.
 

ConigliarosPotential

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I really don't get what people see in Curling. I have watched it, and just don't see what people find entertaining.
For me, it's the combination of the strategy/tactics in figuring out where to try and position each stone, and then the technical ability that most of the players have to put each stone pretty much exactly where requested with pinpoint precision. It's quite a thinking man's game...or thinking woman's game. (Re: the latter, a few of the Olympic women's curlers are usually rather pleasing to look at as well - Team Russia at Sochi four years ago comes to mind...)
 

Fred not Lynn

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I do enjoy the figure skating; although I get easily frustrated with the scoring, and do feel like it has become more technical and less artistic, especially the singles events...

...I have no interest in the X game sports, Could not cares about the trick events (half pipe, freestyle, Arials, etc)
Isn’t figure skating just a “trick event” with less baggy outfits, and some bedazzling?
 

finnVT

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Curling. (Did the internet increase the popularity? Don't remember it being poplar growing up in the 80s and 90s)
I remember being a senior in college during the '02 olympics, and I want to say that was the first time they did the "use all NBC channels to show a ton of crap" (or at least the first time I was paying attention), and given the convenient time zones of SLC, there was suddenly a lot of curling on random news channels all the time. I feel like it gained a cult following that year, though it's certainly possible more people than I realized had figured it out in '98.
 

jkempa

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I remember being a senior in college during the '02 olympics, and I want to say that was the first time they did the "use all NBC channels to show a ton of crap" (or at least the first time I was paying attention), and given the convenient time zones of SLC, there was suddenly a lot of curling on random news channels all the time. I feel like it gained a cult following that year, though it's certainly possible more people than I realized had figured it out in '98.
That's pretty much my recollection as well.
 

jkempa

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All alpine skiing,especially the speed events. Raced from middle school to college so love those events
Aerial skiing, snowboarding and the snowboard cross
Speed skating is fun - shorter events though
And all those crazy bobsled, luge, skeleton sports. Where do you ever get to see that in real life?
Most of the events are fun to watch to be honest.
I was looking to see where the nearest track was for you to see the sliding sports, and well, you're a long way away being in Australia. I love watching them on TV. It's not as great an experience when you're watching in person, unless you've got video monitors. Otherwise it's setting up on one of the curves or at the finish, and just watching somebody fly by you for a second or two before they're at the next curve. And that's assuming the sun shades aren't down.

I feel a lot of sympathy for the southern hemisphere athletes that compete in winter sports, at least the ones played outside. But especially those that do bosbled, skeleton and luge. Every single track is in the northern hemisphere, so when they compete and train, it's winter. When they go home to make money, it's winter.