VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Alpine skiing – The event features the longest course and has athletes traveling down a vertical drop and down the mountain.  Participants use skis with fixed-heel bindings.  First appearance at an Olympic Games was 1936.

Biathlon – The sport is made up of two disciplines, combining cross-country skiing and rifle shooting.  Either single competitors or relay teams take part. Its first official appearance was during the 1960 Games.

Bobsleigh – Teams of either two or four make timed runs down narrow, twisted, icy tracks in a gravity sled. First appearance in the 1924 Games.

Cross-country skiing — Athletes ski across massive snow-covered terrain using both their skis and poles.  Popular in countries in Europe and Canada and the U.S.  First made its appearance in the 1924 Olympics.

Curling – Often known as chess on ice, curling is playing by two teams of four.  Teams take turns sliding 40-42 pound granite stones down a sheet of ice towards a target.  The purpose is to complete each end (inning), with one team’s stones closer to the centre of the target than the other team’s.  It was officially added to the Games in 1998.

Figure Skating – Is where individuals or pairs perform jumps, footwork and other intricate moves on the ice.  First Winter Olympic Games appearance was 1924.

Freestyle skiing (aerials, moguls, ski-cross) – Freestyle skiing is an acrobatic and technical form of skiing. 
*Aerials: Competitors head down a drop and perform their own freestyle technique.  The athlete with the highest combined score from the two final jumps wins.  First Olympic appearance was 1994.
*Moguls: Athletes ski down a steep slope and over a series of large bumps (moguls) that can be as high as 1.2 metres.  Skiers are required to perform two different jumps of their choice, one at the top of the course the other near the bottom.  The goal is to ski down the course as fast as possible.  Became an official Olympic sport in 1992.                                                                                                                *Ski-Cross: Making its Olympic debut in Vancouver, ski-cross has four skiers start at the same time and cover a terrain that has turns, banks and ridges.  The first one to  cross the finish  line wins.

Ice Hockey – Is a team sport, consisting of 23 players, played on ice.  Players use sticks to direct a rubber puck into the opposing goal.  Each game is made up of three-20 minute periods, whichever team with the most goals at the end of the game wins.  If the game is tied it goes to overtime, if nothing is resolved there the game is decided by a shoot-out.  First Olympic appearance was 1920.

Luge – Has one or a team of two face up and feet first on a sled.  Steering is done by flexing the sled’s runners or the athlete’s shoulder pressure to the seat. First Olympic appearance 1964.

Nordic combined – Athletes do a jumping portion that determines the starting seed for the cross-country race that follows.  Remaining participants can start seconds if not minutes behind the leader. Athletes, usually in a cluster, ski their way across a terrain, whoever crosses first wins.  Men first competed in the event at the 1924 Olympics while the team event was added to the 1988 Games.

Short track speed skating – Multiple skaters, between four and six, skate in circles on an oval track. Whoever crosses the finish line first wins.  It was officially deemed an Olympic sport in 1992.

Skeleton – Similar to the luge, one person rides a small sled down a icy track — but face down.  To start, a slider runs as fast as possible at the beginning of the track before diving head first on the sled, lying on their stomachs.  Men’s skeleton was active between the 1928 and 1948 Games, before being re-introduced at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City.

Ski Jumping – Is where athletes do down a ramp that launches them into the air.  The goal is to attempt flying as far as possible.  Men’s ski jumping began at 1924 Olympics.

Snowboarding (half-pipe, parallel giant slalom, snowboard cross) – Has ‘boarders covering a terrain with a snowboard attached to their feet.
*Half-pipe: a snowboarder performs a routine of jumps, twists and tricks inside of a half-cylinder snow tube while moving from side to side.  First Olympics were in 1998.
*Parallel Giant Slalom: two snowboarders go head-to-head down a course, going through a series of gates.  First Games were in 1998.
*Snowboard cross: Four racers start together down a course, going over jumps and ramps.  The fastest two racers from each run move on to the next round.  Was introduced at the 2006 Winter Games.

Speed skating (team pursuit) – Takes place on a 400 metre oval rink. Two teams of three begin at the same time and race and change lanes once per lap.  Members take turns leading; with remaining athletes following close behind.  The competition is made up of elimination rounds, leading to a final run.  Only men competed in the 1924 Games, but became a full co-ed medal sport at the 1960 Olympics.