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Weird Winter Sports

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Racing headfirst on a sleigh at 90 miles per hour and skiing with a gun. These aren't things your crazy uncle does - they're Olympic sports. Here's a look at some of the weird winter sports you'll see at the 2002 Olympics.

Skeleton

Skeleton is being held at the Winter Olympics for the first time since 1948. This was the world's first sliding sport. Riders slide on a small metal sled with two runners. The sport was given its name in 1892 when the new metal sled was introduced and everyone thought it looked like a skeleton. Riders do risk being nothing but a pile of bones by the end of a run since they ride head first at speeds nearing 90 miles per hour. In 2002, women will compete in this sport for the first time.

Biathlon

Biathlon combines two sports: cross-country skiing and rifle shooting. Competitors are given points for how fast they ski and how accurate they can shoot. The sport originally started out as a survival strategy. People in Northern Europe would ski with guns to hunt for food and defend their countries. In the biathlon that takes place at the Winter Olympics, competitors just shoot at targets - not animals or each other.

Short Track Speed Skating

Skaters race around a small oval track in fours over distances between 500 and 5,000 meters. The top two skaters in each heat advance. There's also a four-person relay event which has several lead changes and wipe-outs as racers try to pass each other on tight corners.

Sports That Should Be At The Winter Olympics

Full Contact Figure Skating

Skaters try to body check and knock each other to the ground while performing triple axels and spins. Points are given for the number of hits and the moves performed.

Speed Skating Roller Derby

Skaters race each other around the track as fast as they can while pushing, tackling or tripping their other competitors out of the way. Anything goes. First one to the finish wins.

Snowball Fights

This is the oldest and probably the most fun winter sport. What's better than picking up a fresh handful of snow and hitting someone else with it? It should've been introduced as an Olympic sport years ago.

What's your favorite Olympic sport? What sport do you think is the dumbest? Send your thoughts to Kidzworld. For more on the 2002 Winter Olympics, head to www.saltlake2002.com.

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