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The Winter Olympics are here!
Mark your calendar to tune in to the Opening Ceremony tomorrow and whip up some Olympic-themed treats and settle in for some serious TV time: the 2014 Winter Games pack a whopping 98 events from 15 sports into 17 days of competition!
And while it takes a special kind of Olympics superfan to get excited about curling, we’re pretty sure the following events will get your kids off the couch and cheering…
Snowboarding at Sochi means familiar faces (gold medalists Shaun White, Kelly Clark and Hannah Teter are all back) and new events, as parallel slalom and slopestyle join the halfpipe, snowboard cross and parallel giant slalom competitions. They’re all sure to be exciting, but it’s hard to beat the high-flying excitement of the halfpipe. Your kids may not know exactly what a double cork 1440 is, but they’ll want to see if the Flying Tomato attempts it!
Artistry, athleticism…and sequins! What’s not to like about figure skating? While the ladies free skate promises (always!) to be one of the highlights of the Winter Games, this year team competition joins the roster of figure skating events, too.
Alpine skiers fly down the mountain in five different disciplines: downhill, slalom, giant slalom, super giant and super combined. Your kids (and you, frankly) may not know exactly what makes each one different, but there’s no denying the excitement of watching the speediest athletes in Sochi. Your cheat sheet: The downhill course is the longest—and fastest!
Skeleton and Luge
Daredevil sledders will love Sochi’s sliding sports: skeleton and luge. Skeleton competitors barrel down an icy track head first and face down; luge—where athletes race feet first, on their backs, reaching speeds of 87 mph—is only slightly less insane. Don’t be surprised if your kids want to hit the backyard hill after watching these events. (One word: helmets!)
Freestyle skiing has something for everyone: moguls, aerials, ski cross, and—new this year—ski halfpipe and ski slopestyle. Your kids will love the bumps and jumps of moguls, but it’s the aerials event, with its spectacular acrobatic tricks (skiers complete as many as five twists and three flips in one jump!) that will make their jaws drop.
Little kids (and big ones, too) who wish they could fly—so, you know, pretty much everyone—will be thrilled by ski jumping, which is about as close as humans can come to flight. Look for those forward-leaning athletes to hit speeds exceeding 60 mph and soar as many as 140 meters (that’s more than 450 feet!). And this year, for the first time in Olympic history, women athletes will be jumping for the gold, silver and bronze. Go, girls!
Psyched to start rooting for Team USA? Get the full schedule of events here.
Erika Rasmusson Janes is a mom of two and writer. You can follow her at Google +.