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Why the 2018 Winter Olympics might be a little slower this year

By in Press Enterprise on February 8, 2018

By Kurt Snibbe

The Olympic motto is ‘Citius, altius, fortius,’ Latin for ‘Faster, higher, stronger,’ but these Games might be slightly slower than others in several ways. Here’s a look at why.

Slip sliding away

Pyeongchang, South Korea’s Alpensia Sliding Center is the 20th sliding track in the world and the second in Asia. Its length is 6,092 feet, longer than the 5,951-foot track at the Sochi Olympics and the 5,577-foot track at the Vancouver Olympics. The track also features 16 curves, one fewer than on the Sochi track.

Experts rating the track say it might not be the longest, or fastest, but it is extremely challenging.

From Turn 1 to Turn 5, it’s about a five-story drop.

In the first 800 feet, sleds can reach 60 mph.

Here’s a preview of the track being tested by a luge racer.

Slower downhill skiing

The Jeongseon Alpine Center in South Korea hosted a men’s test race in 2017. The racers said the course was fun but slow, with the peak speed around 70 mph. At the Sochi Games, the top speed was about 84 mph. In the 2010 Games, one downhill skier reached a top speed of about 100 mph.

Downhill skierAbove photo: United States’ Lindsey Vonn competes during the women’s World Cup downhill at the Jeongseon Alpine Center in Jeongseon, South Korea in March 2017.

Skating under pressure

Will the ice be fast in South Korea? Yes, and no. The speed skating venue has very low altitude and greater air pressure. That’s not a great formula for the fastest ice in the world.

South Korea has some of the fastest speed skaters in the world and the home crowd might inspire them to even skate faster.

Men’s 1,000-meter gold-medal times over the years:

Speed skating timesThrills and spills

“Faster, higher, stronger” might be the motto of the Games, […]    

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