Culture

We Ranked Every Winter Olympics Sport Based On How Cooked They Are

Curling will never be normal.

For time immemorial, hearty people who love to run and jump and exert themselves have organised a big sports party, and they called it The Olympics.

There are two types of Olympics, the hot and the cold. For whatever reason, hot Olympics have sports that seem normal and useful — lots of running faster than your chesty peers, or lifting things as high as possible. Shooting with an arrow. The hot olympics are the more famous, the ruddy-faced extroverted child named Josh who will grow up to be a senator or a football.

But the cold Olympics, the pale step-child of the sports season, seem to be defined by activities that are strange and dangerous and complicated. It’s all throwing oneself down ice tunnels or lying flat upon your brethren or dancing across a frozen pond. Its sports are ethereal and deadly, fey and ludicrous — performed by madmen and snow hermits.

But even in the cold Olympics, not all weird sports are created equal, and some are even more cooked than others. Here, we rank every sport of the Winter Olympiad from somewhat believable to literally unreal.


#15 Alpine Skiing

Here’s the thing about skiing — in snow covered countries it’s actually a useful thing. Skis are just big slippery feet to help you get across the snow, so you can cut wood and yodel at your neighbours until they leave you alone. There’s a rich tradition of not dying in a snowdrift that absolutely informs why we celebrate and continue skiing to this very day. This is the skiing event where you go down a mountain. It’s pretty normal.

Winter Olympics Skiing GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

#14 Cross-Country Skiing

Across rather than down, I believe. Not sure if we should encourage it, but fine. It’s basically just walking with minor difficulties.

#13 Ski Jumping

This is where skiing stops being practical, and becomes a thrill-seeking sport for hoons and daredevils. Hopefully they’ll settle down soon and get a sensible job in finance.

#12 Freestyle Skiing

This is where things start to get cooked. Do you reckon some old skiing farmer accidentally fell off a cliff, and then somersaulted beautifully on the way down to his tragic death, giving the townspeople an idea?

Anyway, this is skiing but flipping all over in the air.

Extreme Winter Olympics GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

#11 Nordic Combined

This is still skiing — as we’ll see with a lot of Cold Olympics, they love to mash together two different activities and call it one. Nordic Combined is cross-country mixed with freestyle, meaning you ski a long way and then jump off something. It’s fine.

#10 Speed Skating

At one point someone looked at a frozen pond and was like “there’s NOT enough time to go around this”.

#9 Short Track Speed Skating

At some point that same person looked at a smaller frozen pond.

#8 Figure Skating

If you like dancing, you’ll go NUTS for watching people doing it on a perilous oval of frozen water while wearing KNIFE FEET. It’s just like a discotheque, except at any point the freezing ground might shatter and plunge you into the frozen heart of winter itself, and everyone wears sequins.

#7 Snowboarding

There’s only two possible reasons that snowboarding happened as a sport: someone accidentally forgot to make two skis, and the one they did make was HUGE, or a cool skateboarder fell out of a helicopter and onto a snowy mountain.

#6 Ice Hockey

This is just fighting.

#5 Bobsleigh

Ah, the Bobsleigh event. In the cold mountains, friendship is often seen as four people squashed into a smooth tube and hurtling down a mountain towards their death, desperately throwing their weight from side to side in an almost futile struggle against the immortal forces of gravity and velocity. Where I grew up, friendship was trading a tazo or two.

#4 Biathlon

Biathlon is a sport where skiiers carrying large guns race across a harsh winter landscape, shooting and skiing as they go. Biathlon seems to be a tribute to a terrible weekend that someone had, and can never seem to forget.

Imagine slogging across the blinding white snow for endless miles, forced to stop every hour or so to frantically shoot at things with rapidly diminished ammunition… and meanwhile, other people with guns are struggling to catch up. It’s truly the Hunger Games of the icy olympics.

#3 Luge

Imagine you’re lying in bed, about to nod off and enter a calm world of slumber, dreaming about moonbeams and pennyfarthings — and then your bed slides down a terrifying ice tunnel, towards an almost certain death.

The Luge is just making a sport out of that sensation of falling as you fall asleep, a giant adult slippery slide which will either spit you into death or fame. Also, sometimes you’re not alone — sometimes someone lies on top of you, like YOU are the sled.

#2 Skeleton

There’s only two things more terrifying than the Luge, and one of those is going down the Luge headfirst. That’s what Skeleton is, the epitomy of throwing yourself headfirst into a bad situation. Some say Skeleton is a terrifying attempt at recreating the experience of being born from the world’s slipperiest and longest womb. The other thing that’s more terrifying than the Luge is being attacked by a spooky skellington, which is where this sport gets its name from.

#1 Curling

Curling. A slow stone moves ponderously across the ice, facilitated by a frantic team of broom-wielding athletes in spandex. Are they trying to make the stone disc go faster or slower? Why must the stone move at all? The stone is important, the stone is a ponderous queen.

Apparently all curling stones come from the same cursed island in Scotland, forever doomed to be pulled from their roots and fondled by icy boys in an extended game of snow shuffleboard. This is truly the most cooked Olympic sport, the truth that the cold games are made for madmen and dreamers, are an icy dream that will fade away once the warm rays of the sun hit the snow.

Cat Curling GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Patrick Lenton is an author and staff writer at Junkee. He tweets @patricklenton