The London 2012 Olympics have been full of surprises, inspiring stories, and gold medals. Team USA has had more than its share of all three, and now we’re getting down to the wire in most of the competitions. The finals for several athletic events are still to come, and whether you’re a new fan or not, you need to know a few key terms to help you understand what’s going on. These words will help you to better enjoy the Olympic experience and know what you’re talking about! They’re from varying competitions, so enjoy!
- Course – This term comes from the mountain biking competition. This refers to the actual trail that the bikers ride on. This year’s course was constructed from scratch specifically for the games.
- Technical Zone – This is another mountain biking term that is similar to a racing pit stop. These are zones dedicated to fixing up bikes or making any repairs that are needed during the race.
- Negative Split – This is a swimming competition term, and denotes cases where a swimmer completes the second half of a race in a shorter time than the first half.
- Tumble Turn – This is an underwater turn that swimmers use to propel themselves with their feet off the wall and into the opposite direction. When a swimmer must make multiple laps across the pool, these are used every time they switch direction.
- Strokes – There are different strokes that swimmers use – butterfly, breaststroke, backstroke – and each is used in a different race or medley.
- Medley Races – These kinds of races require each swimmer to complete part of the course using the strokes listed above for a certain distance.
- Triathlon – This is a multi-sport even in which athletes must complete three courses that include running, swimming, and biking.
- Timing Chip – These devices are placed on athlete’s ankles and provide information about when a competitor crossed certain checkpoints and the finish line.
- Hurdles – These are obstacles made of short bars that runners in the hurdle races must jump over. They look something like the jumps at horse shows, only smaller.
- Blade – This is a table tennis term. Sometimes, tennis rackets are referred to as “blades.”
- Down the Line – Another table tennis term. This one refers to when a player hits the ball straight down the side of the table, or the sideline.
- Trainer – This is just a general term and refers to a coach.
As a general note, the white powdery stuff you see gymnasts use is to keep a good grip on the bars, pommel horses, etc. The bells or buzzes you hear in the middle of routines indicate that the athlete only has a short amount of time left for their exercise.
I hope these terms help you out as we come to the end of the Olympics!
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