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KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV, AFP/Getty Images

KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV, AFP/Getty Images

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No Bones About It: See How Terrifying the Sport of Skeleton Can Be

BY Shaunacy Ferro

February 13, 2018

KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV, AFP/Getty Images

KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV, AFP/Getty Images

While ice skating has seen its fair share of sprained ankles and broken limbs, when it comes to death-defying winter sports, it's hard to compete with skeleton. In the Olympic sliding sport, riders take a running start and launch themselves face-first down an icy downhill track on a sled only an inch off the ground. Great Big Story followed two-time Olympic skeleton slider John Daly on one of his runs and, make no bones about it, this is not a sport for the faint-of-heart.

Elite skeleton sliders like Daly can regularly achieve speeds of 90 miles per hour during a run, experiencing forces of up to 5 Gs over the course of a race. This would be pretty heart-pounding no matter the sport, but for skeleton athletes, that kind of speed and force seems particularly harrowing. A skeleton slider's head hangs over the top of the sled, and that extra force makes their head harder to hold up. According to the British Bobsleigh and Skeleton Association, athletes slide down the course with their chins mere centimeters from the ice. Going around particularly high-speed corners, they'll often scrape the icy surface of the course with their chins—which in turn obscures their ability to see what's in front of them, forcing them to steer by feel until they can lift up their head again.

The event can be harrowing and even deadly, and is risky enough that it has been banned from the Olympics—twice. It returned to the Games in 2002 for the first time in 54 years.

"If you start to get stiff, if you start to get scared, it's not going to work—the sled's going to break loose on you and you are going to crash," Daly warns in the video. "You have to embrace the speed." Sounds simple, right?

Think you could handle it? Take a run with Daly in the video below.

[h/t Great Big Story]

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10 Cool Facts About Curling

BY Rudie Obias

February 12, 2018

iStock

iStock

To the uninitiated, curling might seem like a bizarre and unusual sport with its weird brooms and constant sweeping on ice. But if you get to know the basics of the winter sport, then you can see why so many people from all around the world are fascinated by its strategies and the endurance required to win. Here are 10 cool facts about curling that might just turn you into a superfan.

1. IT ORIGINATED IN 16TH-CENTURY SCOTLAND.

Originating in Scotland, the winter sport of curling dates as far back as 1511. Early games were played on frozen ponds and lochs with primitive curling stones made from different types of materials and rocks from the regions of Stirling and Perth.

Established in 1838, the Grand Caledonian Curling Club was the first modern curling club in Scotland. Its club members and committee were responsible for properly organizing the game and writing its first official rule book with standardized equipment and curling stones. The club later changed its name to the Royal Caledonian Curling Club when Queen Victoria granted it a royal charter in 1843, as the sport was becoming more and more popular in Europe and Canada in the late 19th century.

2. CURLING STONES ARE MADE FROM RARE GRANITE.

Photo of a granite curling stone


By Earl Andrew, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Each curling stone has a circumference of 36 inches and a height of 4.5 inches. The weight of a stone varies between 38 and 44 pounds, depending on the level of competition. Each curling stone is made from a rare granite that is polished and shaped. In fact, there are only two quarries in the world where the granite is found: the Scottish island of Ailsa Craig and the Trefor Granite Quarry in Wales. Since the granite that is used is rare, there’s a possibility that the quarries might run out of materials to make new curling stones in the future.

3. THE SPORT MADE ITS OLYMPIC DEBUT 74 YEARS BEFORE IT BECAME AN OFFICIAL SPORT.

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