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The Vancouver Winter Olympic Games began on Friday 12th February 2010 and ended on the 28th of February. 82 nations competed in the games and the United States of America won with 37 medals overall. The Great Britain team won only 1 medal which was won by Amy Williams who took part in the Skeleton event. Vancouver is a city on the western coast of Canada, bordering the Pacific Ocean. It is named after the British Captain George Vancouver after he explored the area in the 1790’s. It has an approximate population of 578,000 people. It is the largest metropolitan area in western Canada and is the 3rd largest city in Canada after Toronto and Montreal. In Canada they mainly speak French and English. It is also home to the Port Metro Vancouver which is the busiest port in Canada and the 4 th largest in North America. The metropolitan area of the city also has an approximate area of 1,111.4 sq miles. The city is commonly mistaken for being situated on Vancouver Island however the island is also named after Captain George Vancouver. The average temperature of Vancouver in the summer is 21.9 degrees Celsius and the average temperature in winter is 0.5 degrees.

Above, Vancouver City.

Why Vancouver, Not Johannesburg?

Only countries in the Northern Hemisphere have and will host the Winter Olympic Games. There are a few reasons for this; firstly the countries that host the games have to have near access to mountains and areas with snow in the winter because Skiers, Snowboarders, Lugers etc. Have to have this terrain and conditions to take part in their events. Secondly, the Southern Hemisphere may have mountains but even in the winter most countries in the Southern Hemisphere will not have any snow at all so winter athletes would not be able to take part in some events. Because of these issues countries in the Southern Hemisphere can still participate but can’t host because they haven’t got the right terrain or climate. Countries like Brazil, South Africa, Australia, Peru, Colombia and Kenya, all in the Southern Hemisphere as well as countries with deserts like Morocco, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Lebanon, India, Israel, Mexico, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan all competed in the Winter Olympics this year. Left, Johannesburg, South Africa

Georgia’s loss Unfortunately, the Georgian team sadly lost one of their team members the day of the opening ceremony during practice. The Luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, 21, was killed in a highspeed crash in training at the Whistler Sliding Centre on Friday 12th February. The Georgian team, despite their loss, decided to still compete in the games. They didn’t win any medals but they should still be proud of themselves because they fought hard! Left, Georgian winter Olympic Team

The events of the Winter Olympic Games 15 different events take place in the Winter Olympic Games, these are: Alpine skiing, Biathlon, Bobsleighing, Cross Country, Curling, Figure Skating, Freestyle Skiing, Ice Hockey, Luge, Nordic Combined, Short Track, Skeleton, Ski Jumping, Snowboard and Speed Skating. This is an information section of the most of the different sports and how they are played.

Alpine Skiing

Alpine skiing has been practiced in the European Alps for at least 150 years. In addition to adapting cross-country techniques to suit their steeper slopes, alpine skiers also found they needed slightly wider skis to go downhill safely, and developed different ways to use their poles and new turning techniques to match the more vertical terrain of the high mountains. The sport became increasingly popular through the early 20th century with the development of T-bars, tows and ski lifts, as alpine skiers no longer had to climb up a slope before skiing down. Alpine skiing for both men and women debuted as an Olympic sport in 1936 at GarmischPartenkirchen. In 1948, separate downhill and slalom races were added. From that time, super combined was not contested at an Olympic Winter Games until 1988, in Calgary. The giant slalom was added in 1952, and the super-G in 1988. How Alpine Ski Works? In alpine skiing, racers can reach speeds up to 130kmph down a vertical drop that ranges from 180 metres (which is slalom) or 1,100 metres (which is downhill) for men or 140 metres and 800 metres for women. The vertical drop is made even more difficult because of a series of gates the skiers must pass through. Skiers who miss a gate must then climb back up and go through the missed gate or be disqualified. Medals Won this Year: This year in alpine skiing gold medals were won by: Switzerland, U.S.A, Germany, Norway, Austria and Italy. Silver medals were won by: Norway, U.S.A, Slovenia, Croatia and Austria. Bronze medals were won by: Sweden, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Norway, U.S.A and Austria.

Bobsleigh The idea of racing sleds down a steep and twisting track dates back about 150 years, to the mid-19th century, when British tourists began tobogganing on the snowbound roads of the Alps. The four-man bobsleigh was on the program of the first Olympic Winter Games in 1924, in Chamonix, France. The two-man bobsleigh event joined the Olympic Games program in 1932. Women began competing in bobsleigh for the first time in 2002, at the Salt Lake City Olympic Winter Games. How Bobsleigh Works? Today’s bobsleigh is built to be fast and aerodynamic, with a rounded fibreglass nose and four highly polished steel runners. To start, the racers push off as fast as they can for approximately 50 metres, then they jump into the bobsleigh for a seated descent down the track. The driver steers down the track, while, at the end of the run, the brakeman stops the sled. There are three Olympic bobsleigh events: the men compete in two-and four-man bobsleigh and women in a two-person format. Medals Won This Year: Gold Medals were won by: U.S.A, Canada and Germany Silver Medals were won by: Germany and Canada Bronze Medals were won by: Canada, U.S.A and Russia

Curling The game of curling is more than 500 years old. The earliest written record of curling — of groups of people sliding stones on frozen ponds and lochs (an arm of the sea that is similar to a fjord) in competition are found at Scotland’s Paisley Abbey and date back to 1541. How Curling Works? At the Olympic Winter Games, curling consists of two events: a women’s tournament and a men’s tournament. Each tournament starts with 10 curling teams. Two teams play against each other at a time. The game is played on ice, and the two teams take turns pushing 19.1kilogram stones towards a series of concentric rings or circles. The object is to get the stones as close to the centre of the rings as possible. One game consists of 10 ends (similar to innings in baseball). During each end, each four person team throws (in fact, slides along the ice) eight stones, two stones per person and 16 altogether. Team members sweep the ice clean in front of each stone to control the stone’s direction, known as its curl and the stone’s speed. The team with the most points more stones closer to the centre of the rings at the conclusion of 10 ends, is the winner. Medals Won This Year: Gold Medals were won by: Sweden and Canada Silver medals were won by: Canada and Norway Bronze medals were won by: China and Switzerland

Figure Skating

Figure skating was an Olympic sport before there was an Olympic Winter Games. Figure skating first appeared at the London 1908 Olympic Summer Games with events for pairs and singles. Ice dancing joined the Olympic Winter Games in 1976, when the Games were held in Innsbruck, Austria. The compulsory figures competition was dropped from the figure skating program prior to the Albertville 1992 Olympic Winter Games. How Figure Skating works? At the Olympic Games, each of figure skaters four disciplines are adjudicated by a separate panel of 9 International Skating Union championship judges using a computer scoring system to measure the quality of each performance. Before each event, there is a secret and random draw to determine which judges’ scores will form the result of the segment. Only seven of the 9 scores are used. A new draw is done for each segment. During each performance the judges assign a grade of execution (GOE) to every element that is executed. This makes up the technical score. At the conclusion of each performance, the judges assign additional program component scores that measure the overall technical and presentation abilities of the skater or team. The individual or team with the highest totals of technical and program component scores is deemed the winner. Medals won this year: Gold medals were won by: China, U.S.A, Canada and South Korea Silver Medals were won by: Japan, U.S.A, Russia and China Bronze Medals were won by: Germany, Japan, Russia and Canada

Ice Hockey

While men's ice hockey made its Olympic debut at the 1920 Summer Olympic Games in Antwerp, it was moved to the Winter Games since the inaugural 1924 Winter Olympic Games in Chamonix. Women’s ice hockey debuted at the Nagano 1998 Olympic Winter Games. How Ice Hockey works? During the Olympic Winter Games, eight women’s teams and 12 men’s teams compete in round-robin tournaments. Top seeded teams from round robin play advance to the playoff rounds. A team must not have more than six players on the ice while play is in progress. The object is for one team to get the puck past the other team’s goaltender and into the net, similar to soccer. A regular game consists of three 20 minute periods, with a 15 minute intermission after the first and second periods. If a tie occurs in a game in which a winner must be determined, a sudden-victory overtime period is played. During the gold medal game, a 20 minute, sudden victory period is played. In the event of a tie after a sudden victory period, a game winning shoot out determines the winner. Medals Won this Year: Gold medals were won by: Canada Silver medals were won by: U.S.A Bronze medals were won by: Finland


Luge races have grown considerably faster since then with refrigerated Luge tracks and aerodynamic equipment, so that speeds now regularly reach 140 kilometres an hour or more and G-forces reach over 5G. Luge for men, women and doubles made its Olympic debut at the 1964 Games in Innsbruck. How does Luge work? In Luge racers begin by sitting on open fibreglass sleds. Pulling on fixed handles in the ice, they burst out of the start. After this explosive start, they use spiked gloves on the ice surface for extra acceleration before lying down on their backs, feet stretched out in front of them, heads back to be as aerodynamic as possible. Luge racers steer using their legs and shoulders, and brake by sitting up, putting their feet down and pulling up on the sled runners. The singles events consist of four heats over two days. The individual with the lowest combined time over the four runs wins. Men and women compete on the same track, but the women and doubles begin further down the course. The four-run format is unique to the Olympic Winter Games and designed to reward consistency, endurance and ability to withstand pressure, particularly on the second day. Medals won this year: Gold medals were won by: Germany and Austria Silver medals were won by: Germany, Austria and Latvia Bronze medals were won by: Italy and Germany

Nordic Combined Throughout Norway in the 1800s, skiers gathered each winter for a series of ski carnivals consisting of small athletic competitions combined with some entertainment. Considered the best of all the carnival athletes, a small group specialized in cross-country skiing, demanding endurance and strength, and ski jumping, requiring physical strength and technical control. Men have competed in Nordic combined individual events since the first Olympic Winter Games in Chamonix, France, in 1924. The team event was introduced at the Calgary 1988 Winter Games, while the sprint event joined the Salt Lake City Olympic Winter Games in 2002. How Nordic Combined Works? The jumping portion occurs first followed by a free technique cross-country race. The break between the jumping and the cross-country race can be as little as 35 minutes, or as long as a few hours. Known as a “Gundersen� or pursuit start, the jumping results generate the starting seed for the cross-country race that follows, with the second and remaining athletes beginning seconds or even minutes after the best jumper. Using pack-racing strategies, the athletes cluster into trains that chase down other athlete trains. The winner of the Nordic combined event is the first athlete across the cross-country finish line. Medals won this year: Gold medals were won by: France, Austria and U.S.A Silver medals were won by: U.S.A Bronze Medals were won by: Italy, Austria and Germany


Like the other sliding sports of bobsleigh and Luge, the start is crucial in skeleton, where a tenth of a second lead at the start can become three tenths of a second by the bottom of the run. These athletes train much like sprinters to develop powerful legs they need to explode onto the track. But speed is not the only factor: they must also find the best line and steer smoothly through each turn to keep their speed high. How Skeleton works? Skeleton got its name from the sled used, originally metal, now fibreglass and metal , as it resembles a human skeleton. To start, a skeleton slider grasps the handles on either side of the sled, runs as fast as possible for approximately 50 metres, and then dives head first onto the sled. Sliders lie on their stomachs and steer by shifting their bodies very slightly. There are two individual skeleton events in the Olympic Games: one for men and one for women. Both events consist of four heats held over two days, timed electronically to 0.01 seconds. The individual with the lowest combined time wins. Medals won this Year: Gold medals were won by: Great Britain and Canada Silver medals were won by: Germany and Latvia Bronze medals were won by: Russia and Germany

Ski Jumping

The desire to jump longer led to the radical new development in 1985 of V-style, where a ski jumper holds his skis in a V-shaped position (instead of parallel) while in the air. Credited with this new style was Swedish ski jumper Jan Boklöv. At the time, most ski jumpers laughed at this innovation and Boklöv was penalized for his unorthodox style. Eventually sport science caught up with Boklöv’s advancement and realized that V-style produced 28 per cent more lift. How Ski Jumping Works? An athlete skis down a long ramp, referred to as the in-run, and launches into the air at speeds of up to 95 kilometres per hour. Technique is integral to ski jumping as athletes must perform a very precise and well-timed takeoff. Once in the air, jumpers assume the V-style and adjust their position to maximize lift and minimize drag. Competitors are evaluated on distance and style and while there is a very close relationship between the two, the skier with the longest jump will often have the highest style points. An exception to this can be found in the landing portion of the jump as long jumps can make landing in a controlled telemark position more difficult. The quality of landing can be a determining factor in deciding the finishing place when the distances are similar. The distance ski jumpers travel in competition is closely regulated by a jury. At the start of the competitive round, the jury selects a start gate that allows the best athletes to fly close to the maximum safe distance. All athletes start from the same gate and, as a result, less proficient jumpers fly a shorter distance. Ski jumps are designed with many start benches allowing the jury to select the appropriate start gate based on conditions such as wind, temperature, humidity, snow type and other factors that can impact the distance a jumper flies. Medals won this year: Gold medals were won by: Switzerland and Austria Silver Medals were won by: Poland and Germany Bronze medals were won by: Austria and Norway

Athlete Fact file

Name: Amy Williams D.O.B: 29th September 1982 Age: 27 Specialist Sport: Skeleton Awards: Gold Medal in the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games 2010 Nationality: British

Name: Bergeron Patrice D.O.B: 24th July 1985 Specialist Sport: Ice Hockey Awards: Gold Medal for Canadian Ice Hockey team win in the Vancouver Winter Olympics 2010 Nationality: Canadian

Did You Know?

Did you know that in the Winter Olympic Games this year Canada had 206 athletes competing? Did you know that Ottawa, the capital of Canada, isn’t the biggest city in the country? Did you know that Vancouver is the 3rd most densely populated city in North America? Did you know that Vancouver is 8 hours behind our time? Did you know that the highest temperature ever recorded in Vancouver is 34.4 degrees Celsius?

Competition! Prizes will be won! What is the biggest city in Canada? If you think you know the answer, write it on a piece of paper and post it in the DKC box outside of the library.

The Paralympics

The Paralympics begin on the 12th of March 2010. The Paralympics are a multi sport event for athletes for physical and visual disabilities. They occur every four years following the Olympic Games and are governed by the International Paralympic Committee. The Paralympic Games are sometimes confused with the Special Olympic World Games which are only for people with intellectual disabilities. They are designed to emphasize the participants' athletic achievements, not their disability. So far the Paralympic Games have been held in: Italy, Japan, Israel, Germany, Canada, Netherlands, U.K, U.S.A South Korea Spain Australia Greece and China and will start in Vancouver on the 12th March and be followed by the London games in 2012.

By Carl Burch

DKC Vancouver edition  

Vancouver edition