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Miga

Sport of the Day: Cross-Country Skiing

Olympic mascots Quatchi and Miga. Photo copyright VANOC/COVAN

WHISTLER OLYMPIC PARK

Featured in the first Olympic Winter Games in 1924, cross-country (Nordic) skiing has been employed by humans for centuries. Winter Games events specify either classic or free technique, or a combination. With classic, skis remain parallel. With free, the skis are shorter and the edges of the skis are used to push off, resulting in a faster race. Events include individual, relay, sprint, pursuit and mass start.—Sheri Radford

Sport of the Day: Skeleton

Olympic mascots Miga and Quatchi. Photo copyright VANOC/COVAN

THE WHISTLER SLIDING CENTRE

This sport appeared at the Winter Games in 1928 and 1948 but didn’t permanently join the roster until 2002. In skeleton (named after the small sled that resembles a human skeleton), the competitor grasps the sled, runs for about 50 m (164 ft), then dives on headfirst and hurtles down the icy track. Times are measured to the one-hundredth of a second.—Sheri Radford

Sport of the Day: Figure Skating

Olympic mascots Quatchi and Miga. Photo copyright VANOC/COVAN

PACIFIC COLISEUM

Figure skating was initially at the Summer Games, in 1908 and 1920. It found a new home at the Winter Games in 1924. Events include singles, which involves a short program of required moves and a longer, more creative, free skating program; pairs, in which one male and one female work together in lifts, throws, jumps and spins; and ice dance, which is similar to ballroom dancing.—Sheri Radford

Sport of the Day: Snowboard Halfpipe

Olympic mascots Miga and Quatchi. Photo copyright VANOC/COVAN

CYPRESS MOUNTAIN

Snowboarding, which is exploding in popularity, is a relatively new sport that combines elements of three other popular sports: surfing, skateboarding and skiing. Snowboard halfpipe joined the Winter Games in 1998. The halfpipe is a human-constructed, U-shaped snow bowl. One competitor at a time performs tricks while riding from one side to the other in—and while in the air above—the halfpipe. Judges evaluate height and style.—Sheri Radford

Sport of the Day: Biathlon

Olympic mascots Quatchi and Miga. Photo copyright VANOC/COVAN

WHISTLER OLYMPIC PARK

Debuting as an Olympic sport in 1960, biathlon has its origins in hunting and the military. Competitors alternate between completing a loop of a cross-country ski course and taking five shots at a metal target, also alternating between standing and lying down for each round of shooting. Events include individual, relay, sprint, pursuit and mass start.—Sheri Radford

Sport of the Day: Snowboard Cross

Olympic mascots Miga and Quatchi. Photo copyright VANOC/COVAN

CYPRESS MOUNTAIN

Also called boardercross, this sport is new to the Olympic roster: it was introduced at the 2006 Winter Games. Four riders at a time race down the course, which is covered with jumps, berms (walls of snow built up in corners) and other obstacles constructed out of snow. Only the fastest two snowboarders progress to the next round.—Sheri Radford

Sport of the Day: Luge

Olympic mascots Quatchi and Miga. Photo copyright VANOC/COVAN

THE WHISTLER SLIDING CENTRE

This sport made its Winter Games debut in 1964. In luge (French for “sled”), a slider sits on a sled, pushes off, lies back and races down the icy track, feet first. Speeds often top 140 km/h (87 mi/h) and the gravitational force can exceed 5G. Times are measured to the one-thousandth of a second. Events include singles and doubles.—Sheri Radford

Sport of the Day: Ski Jumping

Olympic mascots Quatchi and Miga. Photo copyright VANOC/COVAN

WHISTLER OLYMPIC PARK

Ski jumping has been part of every Winter Games. After skiing down a long ramp, a competitor jumps into the air, attaining a speed of up to 95 km/h (59 mi/h) while holding the skis in a V position. Judges evaluate distance and style. Events include individual normal hill, individual large hill and team large hill. The world’s best-known ski jumper is, perhaps, perpetual underdog Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards of Great Britain.—Sheri Radford