Photo: Ricardo Mazalan/AP

Photo: Ricardo Mazalan/AP

Don’t freeze: get a Winter Olympics guide

Don’t freeze: get a Winter Olympics guide

SHIVA KESHAVAN IS IN LUGE

Photo: Ricardo Mazalan/AP

Bobsleigh, skeleton and luge. Similar?

In luge and skeleton, competitors lie on a rectangular sled—supine (that is, feet first) for luge and head-first for skeleton whereas bobsleigh competitors are able to climb inside their aerodynamic “vehicle".

How fast is fast?

Bobs can hit 125 kmph (kilometre per hour), while skeleton and luge can manage around 110 kmph. Margins are infinitesimal—an extra one-hundredth of a second after two heats can see golden dreams turn to dust.

TASHI LUNDUP IS IN CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING

Isn’t cross-country like Alpine skiing but on level ground?

Photo: Petr Josek / Reuters

There are two techniques with different equipment: classic, where the skis move through machine-groomed tracks, and the free technique, where skiers glide on shorter skis—this is slightly faster.

Are there categories?

There are six disciplines—individual, mass start, pursuit, individual sprint, team sprint and relay. For the individual start, an athlete starts every 30 seconds and the winner is the skier with the lowest time. In massed start, the skiers start simultaneously in an arrow formation and the first across the line wins, often in a photo finish.

JAMYANG NAMGIAL IS IN ALPINE SKIING

Photo: Leonhard Foeger / Reuters

Yes. But there are actually four disciplines in Alpine skiing: two speed events (downhill and super-G) and two technical (slalom and giant slalom) with a combined race of one speed and one technical event.

Isn’t skiing down steep, icy slopes spine-chilling?

Skiers put their trust in their own prime physical condition and the growing technological advances in ski equipment. Most racers will not admit to a death wish but they do take maniacal pleasure in the most testing of conditions.

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