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Your Guide to the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Sports You’ll Randomly Watch at 5am

Because the best prescription for lack of sleep is curling.

Biathalon

Photo: Getty Images | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2014

What it is: Skiing really far and then shooting a huge gun.

Why you’ll like it: The sport started as a Norwegian military training exercise, so it’s appropriately badass; the competitors carry their guns and ammunition through the skiing portion. It’s also the perfect amount of “-athalon.” Triathletes are crazy annoying, with their drive and endurance and all that nonsense, and you “una-athletes” (otherwise known as people who play a sport) don’t have nearly enough talent to merit watching. (You hear that LeBron? Call us when you can dunk and drop into a half-pipe.)

Curling

Photo: Getty Images | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2014

What it is: Shuffleboard on ice.

Why you’ll like it: Everyone does! The go-to for describing the Olympics’ quirkiness is actually a whole lot of fun once you grasp the concept. The “sport” originated somewhere in 1500s Scotland and is likely the product of lots of Scotch-imbibing, because how else would someone think of hurling smooth stones across a frozen pond? We know what your next question is: do the “athletes” look good doing it? Damn straight.

Nordic Combined

Photo: Getty Images | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2014

What it is: Skiing really far and jumping really far.

Why you’ll like it: Another two-sport special! Although both are skiing disciplines, they couldn’t be more different in skills. It’s like if you learned how to ride a horse at the highest level, but then also learned to cook it like an equine Wolfgang Puck. On top of that, any excuse to watch more ski jumping is ok with us – that sport is fucking bonkers.

Parallel Slalom

Photo: Getty Images | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2014

What it is: Head-to-head racing on snow - now with snowboarding!

Why you’ll like it: Previously a skiing only event, the International Olympic Committee finally loosened their ties and acknowledged that we would like to see more people go down hills fast. And we would! It’s essentially a one-on-one, two-leg race – one on each side of the course. The loser of the first race will start the second race after being penalized the time that he lost by in the initial leg. Basically, you don’t have to worry about doing math after; just enjoy the close (or not so close) finishes.

Skeleton

Photo: Getty Images | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2014

What it is: Luge, but way crazier.

Why you’ll like it: Have you ever watched guys hurtle down a 1.1 mile track at speeds approaching 100 MPH and thought, “Why isn’t this more dangerous?” Well then, you, grim reader, will love Skeleton. It’s just like luge, except you put your head (you know, that thing that has your brain in it) in the front where the smashing quotient is significantly higher. To add to the pants-shittingness of it all, most sleds are also devoid of any steering or braking instrument. Unless you count your head.


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