|Bode Miller of the United States at the 2006 Winter Games in Torino, Italy, on February 12, 2006. (Photo: Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters)|
The Olympic Games feature six skiing disciplines: alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, freestyle skiing, Nordic combined, ski jumping, and snowboarding. Alpine skiing includes the following specialties: downhill, slalom, giant slalom, super-G, and combined. Within each specialty, the athlete who posts the fastest time without missing any of the gates is declared the winner. Cross-country skiing includes two techniques. The classic technique requires competitors to keep their skis parallel and prohibits them from leaving the course's two tracks. The freestyle technique allows skiers to determine their moves and select their type of pace. Freestyle skiing features two specialties: moguls and aerials. In mogul events, skiers race down a steep slope covered with moguls (bumps) and perform two acrobatic maneuvers. They are judged on technique, aerials, and speed. In aerial events, skiers perform two acrobatic jumps, which are evaluated on form, height, and landing.
Nordic-combined unites two different disciplines: ski jumping and cross-country skiing. There are three heats, including two individual events and one team event.
Ski jumping requires athletes to perform two jumps. A team of five judges evaluates each jump based on length and style. After the best and worst scores are thrown out, the skier with the highest combined score is declared the winner.
Snowboard events include the parallel giant slalom, the half pipe, and the snowboard cross. While each event is unique, all athletes must demonstrate sophisticated technical skills and gravity-defying maneuvers.
Whom to Watch
Top U.S. Male Athlete, Freestyle: Jeremy Bloom
Top U.S. Female Athlete, Moguls: Hannah Kearney
Top International Competitors: Men's freestyle skiers Janne Lahtela (Finland) and Marc-Andre Moreau (Canada)
Women's freestyle-skiers Kari Traa (Norway) and Margarita Marble (Australia)
Top U.S. Male Athlete, Snowboard Cross: Seth Wescott
Top U.S. Female Athlete, Halfpipe and Snowboard Cross: Lindsey Jacobellis
Top International Competitors: Snowboard cross-rider Jasey Jay Anderson (Canada) and snowboard cross-riders Doresia Krings (Austria) and Deborah Anthonioz (France)
2002 U.S. Gold Medalists
Snowboarder Ross Powers won the gold in the men's halfpipe event.
Snowboarder Kelly Clark won the gold in the women's halfpipe event.
Skiing events will take place every day of competition.
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