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2022 Winter Olympics: 7 Fast & Furious Events You Don’t Want to Miss

Here are the wildest, most grueling winter sports you should be watching at the Beijing Olympics.


Why It’s Hard Pushing the four-man bobsleigh (which is a minimum of 460 pounds) toward the track’s slippery slope takes power and precision. Then you must climb inside and stay absolutely still—except the pilot, who makes tiny steering moves with a rope in each hand. You’re going 90 mph and traverse 16 curves, and after the first 50 meters, there are no more track grooves, meaning you could flip.

Who Makes It Look Easy Francesco Friedrich has long been the king of making sure his German teams (two-man and four-man) don’t go off the rails. He won gold in both events in 2018 at PyeongChang.

Alpine Combined Skiing

Why It’s Hard One needs to master two of the speediest disciplines in winter sports. In the downhill, skiers must travel over a mountain course with a vicious vertical descent at upward of 80 mph, and not fall. In the slalom, there are “gates,” or sets of poles, you strategically squeeze past in your hip-swerving journey to the bottom. Men use 55–75 gates; for women, it’s 45–60. Add up the times for both runs and the quickest person wins.

Who Makes It Look Easy Colorado’s Mikaela Shiffrin won a record-breaking 47th World Cup slalom race in January and a combined silver at the 2018 Olympics.

2022 Winter Olympics: 7 Fast & Furious Events You Don't Want to Miss

Snowboard Slopestyle

Why It’s Hard Well…if you can complete a backside quad cork 1800—translation: flip backward in the air four times and land cleanly at excessive speed—it’s a cinch. Or, not really, because that’s only one of the six tricks you’ll attempt on the downhill course, which includes rail features to ride and jumps that make you fly. Amplitude and unique style rate high here.

Who Makes It Look Easy Ohio’s Red Gerard, who famously nearly missed his golden 2018 Olympic run because he’d been up too late bingeing Brooklyn Nine-Nine the night before, is stoked to return.

2022 Winter Olympics: 7 Fast & Furious Events You Don't Want to Miss

Soccrates/Getty Images

Short Track Speed Skating

Why It’s Hard Winning Season 4 of Dancing With the Stars was a vacation for Apolo Ohno compared to icing 2006 Olympic gold in the 500m sprint. In this sport, you’re circling a 364-foot track (about the size of a hockey rink), skating against as many as five competitors, your hand grazing the ice around turns, looking to pass people without falling or bumping.

Who Makes It Look Easy Dutch skater Suzanne Schulting won the 1,000m at the 2018 Games and swept all five golds at the World Championships last March. You have to be speedy and spry to win that big.

2022 Winter Olympics: 7 Fast & Furious Events You Don't Want to Miss



Why It’s Hard Remember how much fun it was to dive headfirst onto your sled when you were a kid and chug down a snowy hill? Skeleton is just like that. Only you’re hurtling through an icy high-banked luge track at almost 90 mph on a tiny sled, grazing walls, trying not to flinch—or weep—for nearly 60 seconds.

Who Makes It Look Easy Looking so cool his nickname ought to be “Iceman,” Latvia’s Martins Dukurs scored silver medals at the 2010 and 2014 Games and comes to Beijing having just won his 11th World Cup overall title. Plus, this is in his blood: His dad is his coach.

Nordic Combined

Why It’s Hard Much like with the biathlon, the answer is in the word combined. First is the ski jump, where you careen down an icy track until you reach a lip and launch yourself airborne, flying some 400 feet at 60 mph like a missile…and try to land on your feet. Later, you cross-country ski on a 10km (6.2 miles) course with exhausting hills.

Who Makes It Look Easy Norway’s baby-faced Jarl Magnus Riiber has dominated the World Cup circuit since finishing fourth in PyeongChang. His back injury may make him human.

2022 Winter Olympics: 7 Fast & Furious Events You Don't Want to Miss

Kevin Voigt/DeFodi Images via Getty Images


Why It’s Hard It’s difficult enough to play a sport that combines two ridiculously divergent skills. It’s double trouble when those skills are speedy cross-country skiing for 20km (12.4 miles), the men’s longest individual event, and stopping four separate times to grab the rifle strapped to your back to shoot a total of 20 targets that are 50m (164 feet) away. Half the shooting is done prone (below), half standing.

Who Makes It Look Easy Norway’s Sturla Holm Lægreid began his 2020–21 Cinderella season so little known, he couldn’t land a sponsor other than his own aunt and uncle; then he won four golds at the World Championships.

Snowboard Cross

Why It’s Hard What begins as a laned race down a mountain becomes a chaotic sprint over jumps and around hairpin turns where you’re trying to keep clear of fellow snowboarders. As with short track speed skating, any pushing or pulling may be grounds for disqualification. Even casual contact can get you canned.

Who Makes It Look Easy Watching Great Britain’s Charlotte Bankes’ utterly thrilling .08 second win over Italy’s Michela Moioli at the 2021 World Championships in Sweden gives us hope for Beijing magic.

The Beijing Olympics air February 2–20 on NBC, USA and CNBC. All events will stream live on Peacock, and the NBC Sports app. Check local listings and

Opening Ceremony, Friday, Feb. 4, 6:30am/5:30c and 8/7c, NBC

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