There are a million ways to have fun in the snow but not everything is an Olympic Sport. To make it to that esteemed list the sport has to be recognized by an International Federation which ensures that the sport's activities follow the Olympic Charter.
Then they decide if the sport is popular on a global scale, a sport played in just one country is not eligible. There are other criteria established by the IOC session which the sport must meet and if it does pass the scrutiny it will eventually be added as an Olympic Sport.
After that long selection process here is the list of 15 such sports which will make up the Winter Olympic Games that we will get to see being played in Vancouver. I'm listing them alphabetically. Take a look at the mascots.
There are essentially five events for men and five for women in alpine skiing giving it a total of 10 events. The Men's Sporting Events include Downhill, Giant Slalom, Slalom, Super combined and Super-G. The women have the same events in Alpine Skiing .
There are again five each sporting events in the Biathlon for men and women giving it 10 events. These include for the men the 10km sprint, the 12.5km pursuit, the 15km mass start, the 20km individual and the 4x7.5km relay. The events for the women include the 10km pursuit, the 12,5km mass start, the 15km individual, the 4x6km relay and the 7.5km sprint.
The Bobsleigh has three sporting events all told. There is the four man men's event and the two man men's event. For the women there is just the two-man women's event. Although considering that it is women it should be called the two women event. Why not just call it a two team member event, much less confusing with no genders involved, not to mention more politically correct.
Another event using the Bobsleigh is the Skeleton. As the name suggests you are on a skeleton of a sleigh and all alone on it as you go plunging down head first down the ice track. Why would people do this? Aren't there easier ways to kill yourself or have fun? There are just two events one each for the men and women.
Cross country skiing
This is a demanding sport and there are five events each for men and women. The men's events include the 15km interval start, the 2 x 15km pursuit, the 4x10km relay, the 50km mass start, the Sprint and the Team Sprint. While for women there is the 10km interval start, the 2 x 7.5km pursuit, the 30km mass start, the 4x5km relay, the Sprint and the Team Sprint. Bringing the total number of events associated with the sport to 10.
This is a one on one competition between two teams of four players. The skill is more evident here than in some other sports which can be totally reliant on brute force. Again this involves two events the Men's Curling and the Women's Curling.
This has to be my favorite one to watch. I love the effortless grace that the skaters display in the events. I am never going to get that right. There are four events in this sport. There is the Individual for men and women. Then there are the mixed events of Ice Dancing and that of Pairs.
There are three events each for men and women. These include the Aerials, Moguls and the Ski cross bringing the total number of events in this sport to 6. This sport debuted in the 1988 Calgary Games as a demonstration sport and now its here to stay.
With Ice Hockey there are just two events one for the men and one for the women. If you like your sports noisy and rowdy and highly competitive it does not get any better than this. Although it is physically demanding and rather dangerous from what I can make out.
We'll just call this the more dangerous version of Bobsleigh. With Luge you have a total of three events. The Individual for men and women and the Mixed Doubles. You are totally dependent on your reflexes for steering as you try to make it down the ice track at great speed. Again, people there are easier ways to kill yourself.
The Nordic Combines as the name suggests combines ski jumping and cross country skiing. There are three events and all of them are for men. These include the Individual LH + 10km, the Individual NH + 10km and the Team LH + 4x5km relay.
Short track speed skating
Love to skate? How fast can you go? That's what you find out in these sporting events. There are four events each for men and women. These are the 1000m, the 1500m, the 5000m relay and the 500m for men. While the women can lay claim to the 1000m, the 1500m, the 3000m relay and the 500m. Short tracks increase the fun quotient as the competition gets faster and better.
Another dangerous sport which needs a high level of skill, only for men. The three events include the Individual large hill, the Individual normal hill and the Team large hill. You heart will plummet with each jump and rise with each successful leap when you watch this sport.
Want to surf, skateboard and ski all at one go? Try snowboarding, as this sport has three events each for men and women. These include the Half-pipe, the Parallel giant slalom, and the Snowboard Cross. Believe me when I tell you that you need to be fighting fit for this one!
Prove your agility to the world, not to mention your impeccable balance with speed skating. There are 10 events in this sport five each for men and women. Here's the list with the 10,000m, the 1,000m, the 1,500m, the 5,000m, the 500m and the Team pursuit for Men. And the 1,000m , the 1,500m, the 3,000m, the 5,000m, the 500m and the Team pursuit for Women.
If you are ready to see all these sporting events in action, you don't have long to wait. The Opening Ceremony for the Vancouver Games 2010 is on the 12th of February!