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How does team figure skating work?

This team event has only one entry per discipline (men, women, pairs and dance), but countries could have up to two substitute entrants for each. The strategy is deciding who to pick to skate each event, while still keeping athletes fresh for their later individual competitions. Countries will likely keep these decisions closely guarded secrets until Feb. 5.

How it works

  1.  10 countries qualify to complete in the short program skates
  2. Only the top five countries move on to complete in the long/free program
  3. The team with the highest total of points from the eight programs wins

Scoring works as follows:

  • First place = 10 pts
  • Second = 9 pts
  • Third = 8 pts
  • Fourth = 7 pts, etc.

Canada’s medal hopefuls

GRAPHICS BY TRISH MCALASTER
figure skatinginfographic

Why the Sochi slopestyle course was seen as too dangerous

Norwegian slopestyle snowboarder Torstein Horgmo – one of the leading contenders for Gold going into Sochi – was injured during a practice run Monday, and will no longer be competing at the Games. The accident has brought to light a few safety concerns about the course which the FIS is planning to address. Here’s how the crash happened:

Slopestyle course

 

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 Rail feature

Horgmo was doing a switch hardway, backside 270 when he landed wrong on a rail, and fell into the stairs to the side, breaking his collarbone.

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The ISF plans to adjust the proximity of the ramps and rails at the beginning of the course.

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 The kicker

There are two jumps with decks measuring 18m in length and one at 22m.

After athletes expressed concern over the height and speed of the jumps, officials also plan to reduce the height of the kickers by six feet (1.82m).

Canada has a number of contenders competing in slopestyle at Sochi. Keep an eye out for: Sebastien ToutantMark McMorris and Maxence Parrot in the snowboarding event, and Dara Howell and Kaya Turski on skis.

TRISH McALASTER / THE GLOBE AND MAIL

SOURCES: REUTERS, BBC, INTERNATIONAL SKI FEDERATION (ISF), SMH.COM.AU, NBC SPORTS, AFP

infographicsnowboarding

Infographic: What you need to know about slopestyle

Slopestyle tests a snowboarder or skier’s skill in handling a variety of terrain and obstacles by executing freestyle tricks down a set course. The course is filled with features including jibs (rails, boxes, etc.) and a variety of jumps, which lets riders combine technical tricks and big air jumps into one run. Athletes have two runs per round and the best score of the two is recorded.

 

course

Scoring

Slopestyle competitors will be scored on overall impression by six judges via a live video feed. The top and bottom scores will be dropped, leaving four overall-impression scores on a 100-point scale that will be averaged. Judges look for execution, amplitude, degree of difficulty, variety and artistry.

 

rounds

Canadians to watch

Snowboarders Maxence Parrot and Mark McMorris, and skier Kaya Turski.

Snowboard events take place Feb. 6, 8 and 9.

Ski events take place Feb. 11 and 13.

TRISH McALASTER / THE GLOBE AND MAIL

SOURCES: OLYMPIC.ORG, XGAMES.ESPN.GO.COM

freestyle skiinginfographicsnowboarding

A heavy burden: Are Canadian flag-bearers cursed?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLiQghHYcWE

It’s considered a great honour to carry the flag at the Olympics. But what effect does it have on an athlete’s performance? In 1998, freestyle skier Jean Luc Brassard did not medal despite high expectations, saying his position as flag-bearer was a significant distraction. At the Summer Olympics, star diver Alexandre Despatie said he would decline any offer to carry the flag.

“It’s a great distraction, although it is the greatest honour an athlete can receive,” he said.

Below, we take a look at Canada’s history of flag-bearers at the Winter Olympics and their performance at the games. In recent Olympic history, many Canadian flag-bearers did not medal in events they were favoured to win.

 

Infographic by Stuart A. Thompson

infographicvideo

Infographic: How ski halfpipe works

Ski halfpipe is similar to the snowboard event, but the athletes (or freeskiers) wear freestyle skis with tips on both ends. One at a time, the skiers travel down the halfpipe and perform a personal routine of big airs, flips, twists, corks and other tricks.

course-trick 

Trick to watch for

The unnatural double cork 1260 has the skiers perform two off-axis flips with three and a half rotations while spinning in the direction they aren’t naturally used to. Canadian Justin Dorey has it in his trick repertoire.

Scoring

The athletes are judged on overall impression out of a total possible score of 100. Overall impression takes into account amplitude, technical difficulty, style, flow, variation and execution. The best score out of the two runs is recorded.

30 men, 24 women compete in two qualification runs

top-12

The top 12 finishers move to the finals, where they complete two more runs.

The best score out of the two final runs is recorded for each skier and the highest score wins. (Scores do not carry over from the qualification to the final.)

medal

 

Canadians to watch

Mike Riddle, Justin Dorey, Noah Bowman and Matt Margetts have all had top five finishes this year. Rosalind Groenewoud is a former world champion and gold medal favourite.

Events take place Feb. 18 and 20.

GRAPHICS BY TRISH MCALASTER/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

freestyle skiinginfographic

Infographic: How luge team relay works

In the team relay event, one man, one woman and a doubles pair form a team. All competitors slide from the women’s/doubles start.

1. The female slider goes first and starts the clock by passing the start beam. As she crosses the finish line, she hits a touchpad suspended above the track.

2. The touchpad releases a gate at the start handles where the waiting male athlete tries to react as quickly as possible to start his run down the track.

GRAPHIC BY TRISH MCALASTER/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

3. The doubles team waits in place behind gate during the individual male run.

GRAPHIC BY TRISH MCALASTER/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

4. The individual man hits the sensor pad at the finish of his run…

GRAPHIC BY TRISH MCALASTER/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

5. …which triggers the gate to open and the doubles team pushes of.

The timing clock does not stop between runs, making the reaction time of the male slider and the double team sliders a key component.

GRAPHIC BY TRISH MCALASTER/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Canada’s medal hopefuls in the luge team relay event – Alex Gough, Sam Edney, Tristan Walker and Justin Snith – all hail from Alberta.
GRAPHICS BY TRISH MCALASTER/THE GLOBE AND MAIL
infographicluge

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444 Front St. W., Toronto, ON Canada M5V 2S9
Phillip Crawley, Publisher

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