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4 blood-pumping sports to watch during the Winter Olympics

In the luge and skeleton, riders exceed 80 miles per hour but they don't have brakes to stop them.

BEIJING, China — There are 2,871 athletes competing in the Winter Olympic games. They’ll be competing in 109 events in Beijing. Some of those competitions will get your blood pumping.

One of those sports is the luge.

It requires riders to be flat on their backs while going down the course feet first. They’ll reach speeds of up to 80 miles per hour. Riders guide the small sleds by shifting their body weight. The event is timed to the 1000th of a second.

Skeleton is much like the luge.

On this ride, they go down the run face first and can hit speeds exceeding 90 miles per hour. The G force along the course can be five times as normal. On both the luge and skeleton, there are no brakes. The rider with lowest combined times from their runs will win gold.

Credit: AP
The skeleton

The Winter Olympic Games also includes some high-flying action.

In ski jumping, a curve that points skyward gives athletes the lift they need to go flying in the air. The goal is to come as close to the K line as possible or beyond it. They’re also graded on their style.

Credit: AP
Ski jumping

Freestyle skiing is somewhat like ski jumping but skiers do not go as far. 

Instead of going for distance, they perform mid-air acrobatics. It is sort of like skiers doing gymnastics at about 60 feet in the air above the snow. The athletes are judged on difficulty and style and they must nail the landing.

Credit: AP
Freestyle skiing

Ski jumping is the oldest of these Olympic sports. It was first contested in 1924.

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