Ranking the Winter Olympic Sports

Real-life Blades of Glory


This year, the 2022 Winter Olympics in Bejing has caused many controversies. With large political protests against China’s internment camps, scandals amongst competitors, and COVID-19 outbreaks, this year is one for the records. However, with these problems aside, many Americans are still tuning in to watch what one may consider the lesser Olympic season. As the Olympic Games have now come to a close, I have decided to rank which sports I consider the best to watch, from worst to best.

14. Cross-country skiing

Just meh. If I wanted to watch skiing I would watch literally any of the following programs. No disrespect toward these athletes as I can barely get off a ski lift, but skiing just isn’t as interesting to watch without the addition of rifles or jumps.

13. Ski jumping

At first, I thought ski jumping looked so cool then I found out that female competitors can only ski on the “normal hill” and not the “large hill” with the men. I would break my neck on either hill, but I’ve seen many female competitors expressing frustration on social media about not being given the same opportunities as their male counterparts, so this sport gets ranked low because of the sexism and because you could just watch nordic combined for a better watch experience than #13 or #14.

12. Luge

Luge and Skeleton are some of the most dangerous sports at the Olympics and are very similar, with luge being feetfirst whereas skeleton is headfirst. The track is pretty bland, and because you aren’t watching athletes compete against each other in real-time like in speed-skating (luge is one at a time), so there just isn’t much excitement beyond the near-death part.

Skeleton (left) and Luge (right)

11. Curling

Typically underrated, but I think the boringness of the sport makes it at least a little interesting. It’s cool to watch people so invested in such a strange sport. A lot of trust and teamwork is required, and while curling doesn’t have the enthrall that snowboarding or figure skating does, it’s cool that you don’t need to be a superhuman muscular athlete to compete.

10. Bobsled

I like bobsledding, especially after watching Cool Runnings, where a Jamaican team learned to compete, but if I had to choose between bobsledding and many of the other events it would be pushed aside. While figure skating brings in creativity and all performances will be different, I feel like you could watch one bobsled run and have seen them all.

9. Skeleton

Skeleton is still ranked pretty low, but it gets pushed above luge because of the head-first element. If you are gonna do this death-defying sport, I say go all in and go headfirst, at least that way you can see where you are going.

8. Alpine skiing

This form of skiing is just in the middle. Immensely more interesting than cross-country skiing, but not better than freestyle or nordic combined.

7. Nordic combined

What’s better than combining two different sports? As the name alludes to, this sport combines cross-country skiing and ski jumping. While neither is as cool as Freestyle skiing, the ability to do both puts this sport exponentially above either of the other sports standing alone.

6. Hockey

I mean it’s hockey. Is it necessarily better to watch than the NHL? No. But hockey is still an interesting sport that gives the audience a lot more action than these other sports. It’s also one of the few team sports we get in the Winter Olympics so extra points for that.

5. Speedskating

Very reminiscent of that one episode of The Office. I’ve always thought that Roller Derbys were underrated and while there is not as much pizzazz as snowboarding, for example, I think the short track and tight turns make this sport cool.

4. Snowboarding

A classic. Everyone tunes in to watch Chloe Kim and Shaun White, who are arguably some of the most popular Olympic athletes in America. As someone that has tried snowboarding once in North Carolina, I can admit that even the bunny slopes are brutal on your legs so I have a lot of respect for their abilities.

3. Biathlon

An underrated sport. Cross-country skiing is ranked pretty low because of the non-obstacle course, but I think adding rifles makes it so interesting. Based upon an ancient Scandinavian tradition, I feel like this sport would be so difficult because you essentially have to master two different major skills to be able to compete.

2. Freestyle skiing

Freestyle skiing is divided into many different sections, so there is no shortage of footage to watch. While many of us have tried skiing, competing in moguls (bumpy terrain), half-pipe, or aerials looks near impossible. Why is it better than snowboarding? I think having to control both legs separately makes jumping with skis more difficult than jumping with a snowboard.

1. Figure skating

An obvious pick, but I think figure skating has to be first, as I think anyone that has ever watched the Olympics has tuned in to the figure skating segments. Figure skating is a sport that anyone could admire, especially because many of the competitors are our age and are able to do triple axles and lutzes. This year especially has brought in a record number of watchers, as the scandal from Kamila Valieva has increased intrigue. One more thing I learned is that commenter Tara Lipinski has a house on Kiawah, so imagine running into her at the beach next summer.

In conclusion, all fourteen of these sports are amazing to watch and certainly difficult to maneuver. Although the Winter Olympics is not as popular as the Summer Olympics, I think these sports still deserve their recognition, and you should definitely try to watch a bit of each next year.