A few Olympic sports questions

  1. In ski jumping, if you land on your face, does the jump still count?

  2. How much pushing and shoving is allowed in speedskating? I saw a bit of it when guys were trying to get ahead of each other and nobody was punished. Then in another race it looked like identicle pushing and shoving and apparently it was illegal

  3. I thought I understood curling, then I saw something that completely baffled me. It was the last rock time in one of the Ends (Curling’s innings/quarters/periods). There was, I think, one opponent’s red rock somewhere. It might have been within the big circle, might not, I can’t remember. What I do remember was thinking how easy it would be for the yellow rock team to just slide it near the middle and score a point, or knock out that other rock. But instead, yellow team purposefully missed the other rock and just slid it down the middle without hitting anything.

The announcers said this was a strategic move, something about if the rock doesn’t hit anything, then that team gets first throw in the next End. But wouldn’t a score have helped more?

Also, these guys look pretty accurate in their throws, why isn’t the strategy:

First team throw rock into middle
Second team bump rock out
First team bumps other rock out
Second team bumps that rock out
etc…with the last throwing team scoring for certain and the other team unable to score

As far as I’ve been able to find out, yes. However, a jumper’s score is based on a combination of the distance jumped and style points awarded by judges. If you aren’t standing up when you land, your style points are going to be pretty bad, which pulls your score down.

During the men’s Alpine downhill, I noticed one skier fell very close to the bottom of the run. He didn’t miss a gate, and he crossed the finish line… but he had lost both skis and was essentially sliding down on his bottom. He was disqualified. So apparently in some sports falling is a no-no. But in ski jumping it just ruins your final score, and possibly some bones and/or joints.

“Pushing and shoving” is not allowed, but contact is expected and some jostling takes place. The person in front has right-of-way, but judging can be… inconsistent.

Curling teams have a substitute. Does the substitute get a gold medal if he doesn’t play?

Yes. No cite, but I read an article on the first day or so about one of the women’s teams having a 4-6 month pregnant lady as their alternate. The article specifically said she would get a medal. IIRC, only the 2nd ever to a pregnant woman.

Well, because that’s a bad strategy for both teams.

Throwing second in an end (“having the hammer”) is a huge advantage, and such a large advantage that if you have it, you want to score at least two points, and if you don’t have it, forcing the other team to score a single point is seen as a minor victory.

They never show it, but which team gets the hammer to start the game is determined by the opposing skips throwing a single rock each, closest to the button gets the hammer in the first end.

Hah, my first reaction before reading the whole thing was, “trust me, the US skip didn’t mean to miss like that”.

Generally if a team has the hammer(last rock) they want to try to score at least two points. By blanking the end(nobody scoring anything), they kept the hammer and had another chance to score two in the next end. Had they taken the one point, their opposition would have had the hammer and would have had the chance to score two before giving the hammer back.

In the early 90s, this was pretty much the strategy of any team that had the hammer and the lead, except that instead of taking a point with the last rock, they blanked the end so they’d keep the hammer. Repeat this for every end and the team with the lead pretty much was guaranteed a win(also, a team with a two-point lead could do the same thing except that they’d concede a point on the last rock of the end, but then they’d get the hammer with a one point lead, so they could use the first strategy FTW).

To combat this strategy, a new rule was introduced. The Free Guard Zone covers a part of the ice before the house. No rock in the free guard zone is allowed to be peeled(knocked out of play) until the fifth rock(third rock by the first team to throw). This allows the losing team to get some rocks in play and have a chance to score some points.

The team that throws last in an end has a big advantage. There’s even a name for it, that team is said to have “the hammer”. If they score any points, they give up the hammer to the other team for the next end.

So they’d really like to score more than one point. If they have a chance to score one point with their last rock, sometimes they’ll miss on purpose so the end goes scoreless for both teams, but they keep the hammer.

What you’re describing is even more extreme; a team deliberately giving up a point. I didn’t see it, but I can take a guess. On a take-out shot, if you hit the target rock head-on, you’ll knock it backwards but the shooter will stop in its place. The yellow team was probably in a position where it wasn’t even worth the risk of accidentally scoring a point. Late in the game, it might be better to go to the last end tied and with last rock, than up by two without it.

There’s also a rule about guards. If any team leaves a guard (those are the rocks in front of the house that later shots have to curl around), the other team isn’t allowed to knock it out of play. They can nudge it to another spot, but if it hits either side board or goes over the end line, it gets put back where it was (and the team that hit it has just wasted a shot). The lead players on each team put up the guards, and the later players usually throw the rocks that score points.

There are also shots like I described above, hitting a rock head on. If you take out a red guard but leave your yellow rock in (almost) the same place, that’s a wasted shot. I’ve seen that mistake happen a lot, but then I’ve been watching the U.S. teams.

“Pretty accurate” doesn’t mean they hit everything.

Maybe also worth pointing out that the OP is apparently watching this women’s game between Canada and the US, and the US skip missed no less than 3 draws entirely, sailing right though the house when she didn’t intend to. This is approximately akin to an NFL placekicker missing three 20 yard field goals in a single game.

I forgot to add, that rule only applies to the first four rocks (two from each team) in an end. After that, everything is fair game, but for every rock you knock out, the other team can try to put one back.

Thanks, curling’s a weird game but it’s interesting to watch now that I know some of the rules.

  1. One more curling question, I haven’t seen this happen but I’m sure it happens a lot in non-Olympic events: What happens when a sweeper accidently hits the stone she’s sweeping or one of her own stone in the house? Is that stone “out”? Or steps on an opponent’s rock?

  2. Why does ski jumping have judges? It seems a pretty straightforward sport until I found out they judge you on artistry. To me, that’s like the long jump having a judging portion. Did they add the judging in because otherwise most of the jumps would be pretty much the same distance? They all look like they land in the same general area. I bet wind has more to do with distance than form, since they all look the same.

They prefer to encourage ski jumpers to land cleanly on their skis, as that’s really an integral part of skiing. Staying on your feet, on the other hand, is not an integral part of jumping, as getting very high will hurt you if you don’t fall into a pad. The best ski jumpers will get slightly more than half their points from distance.

No, it’s not wind – although it plays a role. A slight headwind will create lift, but more than that will drive the jumper back. A tailwind will actually drive the jumper down faster, so they don’t like that.

As Nametag implied, without judges ski jumpers would be crash landing if that’s what it took to get a few extra inches of flight. It would be a terrible looking sport.

Another good example of why you’d want to blank an end just came up in the men’s game between Canada and Switzerland. Canada was leading 5-4 in the 9th end, the second to last. Canada basically aimed to blank the end so that they could go into the final end with the lead and the hammer, which is a great position to be in.

It would be hilarious though! :smiley:

Accidentally brushing the running stone is called “burning” the rock, and you’re expected to call it on yourself and immediately take the rock out of play.

If you accidentally move a stone in the house, you just put it back where it was.

Ski jumpers aren’t judged on “artistry”. Although they are called style points, the points the judges award are for how closely the jumper’s style approaches a single ideal. Jumpers are supposed to get into an aerodynamic position quickly, hold that position with as little movement as possible, and then land with what’s known as a telemark landing.

After the landing they are free to fall on whatever body part they choose :stuck_out_tongue:

The reason for this is partly tradition, and partly as Nametag and suryani have already said, to preserve the dignity and grace of the sport.

Wind plays a factor (and a new scoring adjustment system, not in use at the Olympics this time, aims to compensate for that), but technique and training are far more important. During the large hill competition, for instance, the wind was constantly shifting, and some jumpers probably got lower or higher scores than they would have otherwise because of conditions right when they happened to jump - but the winners were the same jumpers who have been winning on the World Cup circuit this year, in all sorts of conditions. Similarly, going into the team large hill competition last night, everyone who follows the sport knew it was the Austrians’ gold medal to lose. And they didn’t.

Watching bobsled today, more questions

  1. How do they steer bobsleds? Is there a wheel inside? Pedals?

  2. In the 2 person bobsled, when the standings came up, only the driver’s name showed up. WTF? The pushing person in the back doesn’t count at all? Do they not get a medal either?

Handles connected by cables to the front set of runners.

Do you mind if I ask an Olympics question in your thread?


The roof at BC Place stadium is held up by air pressure inside the building. I know, I’ve been there. I went in through a revolving door, which works as an airlock. Coming out, they had opened extra doors and there was significant (about 30 mph) breeze. So,…

  1. How did they march the athletes into the stadium without letting all the air out?