Sports 101

Q: What do the luge and short-track speed skating have in common?

A: They are the only Olympic sports timed in thousandths of a second.

Q: Can figure skaters lose points for bad outfits?

A: Judges may deduct points if they decide an outfit is inappropriate. A skater's costume is acceptable so long as it goes well with the music chosen for the performance. Tights and sleeveless tops are off limits, as are earrings and other accessories.

Q: What's the difference between the short and long program in figure skating?

A: The short program is 2-1/2 minutes and counts for one-third of the scoring. It consists of eight required elements: jumps, spins, spirals, and footwork.

The 4-1/2 minute long program counts for two-thirds of the scoring and is a less restrictive performance. Also called free skate, it is designed for skaters to display their artistic and technical talents.

Q: Which is heavier, ice hockey padding or American football padding?

A: Ice hockey players wear 22 pounds of pads; goalkeepers need to be strong just to stand up - they carry more than 44 pounds. The gear worn by American football players weighs, at most, 11 pounds.

Q: What are the Snowlets?

A: The Snowlets are the official mascots of the Nagano Games. Their design is based on an owl motif (owls are thought to embody the "wisdom of the woods"), and their name is drawn from three elements: snow (fitting for the Olympic Winter Games), "let's" (an invitation for all to participate), and owlets (young owls).

Q: What are some of the differences between professional and Olympic hockey?

A: Differences are as follows:

Size of rink:

NHL: 200 feet long, 85 feet wide

Olympics: 196.8 feet long, 98.4 feet wide

Fighting:

NHL: Players who fight can return to the game.

Olympics: Players who fight are ejected.

Roster size:

NHL: Teams dress 18 skaters and 2 goalies.

Olympics: Teams can dress 20 skaters and 2 goalies.

Q: What is moguls skiing?

A: A mogul is a ski bump or ridge of closely packed snow built up on a curve where skiers turn. Part of the freestyle skiing event, the moguls competition consists of one qualifying round, after which the top 16 men and top 16 women advance to the final round. Each round consists of a single run down a steep, heavily moguled course, stressing technical turns, speed, and aerial maneuvers. Each competitor is evaluated on three basic components of moguls skiing: turns, time in air, and speed.

* Please send comments and questions to parneyl@csps.com

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