FEBRUARY 4 – 20

Medals

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DAYS TO GO!
Sports

Cross-country Skiing

Skier Noah Hoffman propels himself forward on his cross-country skis.
Noah Hoffman of the United States competes in the cross-country skiing men's 4x10km relay during PyeongChang 2018. (Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

What's it all about?

Have you ever played an endless runner video game? One where you go up and down hills and change speeds? That’s sort of what cross-country skiing is like. Except luckily for the athletes, it’s not endless.

How it's played

Things to watch for

Simen Hegstad Krueger of Norway during the cross-country men's skiathlon at PyeongChang 2018. (Alexis Boichard/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)
Simen Hegstad Krueger of Norway during the cross-country men's skiathlon at PyeongChang 2018. (Alexis Boichard/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

Skiathlon

  • In skiathlon, skiers must use a combination of freestyle and classic techniques.
  • They begin the race using the classic technique. Once they pass the first leg they change skis and switch to freestyle. 
  • The clock doesn’t stop ticking when they switch skis, so they’ve got to change fast.
Sandra Ringwald of Germany competes during the cross-country ladies' sprint classic at PyeongChang 2018. (Adam Pretty/Getty Images)
Sandra Ringwald of Germany competes during the cross-country ladies' sprint classic at PyeongChang 2018. (Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

Sprint!

  • For Beijing 2022, skiers in the sprint event will use the freestyle skiing technique.
  • The top 30 skiers in the qualifying round advance to the quarterfinals. 
  • There are five quarterfinals, then two semifinals. Win all those to compete in the final for a medal.
Marit Bjoergen of Norway (8) leads the field during the ladies' 30km mass start classic at PyeongChang 2018. (Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
Marit Bjoergen of Norway (8) leads the field during the ladies' 30km mass start classic at PyeongChang 2018. (Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

Everybody go!

  • The mass start is the longest cross-country event. 
  • For Beijing 2022, the mass start will be a freestyle technique event. 
  • Skiers line up in the shape of an arrow, and the top ranked skier gets to start at the tip.
Action packed facts.
  • Cross-country is the oldest type of skiing. In the snow-covered North, people would ski to hunt and gather firewood in the winter.

  • All of Canada's Olympic medals for cross-country skiing have been won by women.

  • Men have been competing in cross-country skiing at the Olympic Games since 1924, but women didn't compete until 1952.

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