The Winter Olympics

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• Part 2: Training and Competition

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The First Winter Olympics
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The Winter Olympics take place every four years, in a "cold" month, and usually in a "cold" country. They run for about two weeks and feature "cold" sports performed by athletes from all over the world. (The 2010 Games run February 12–28, in Vancouver, Canada.)

The current structure of the Winter Olympics has 15 events:

In each event, athletes compete to be the best or the fastest or the longest-jumping or some other form of measurement. The three who place highest in the final standings get medals. The winner gets a gold medal. The second-place finisher gets a silver medal. A bronze medal goes to the person who finishes third. The medals are awarded to the winners in an elaborate ceremony, during which the winners stand on a podium (which emphasizes who placed where) and the winner hears his or her national anthem.

Athletes train for years to compete in the Olympics. Some will compete in more than one Olympics; others will be proud to make it to one.

Some sports are very familiar to people around the world. Skiing and figure skating are on TV and in the news a lot. The United States also has a National Hockey League, so Americans know what hockey is. But some sports, like curling and biathlon, aren't so well-known.

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