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What Do You Want To Know About The Sochi Olympics?

For some, the chance to watch curling is a reason to be excited about the Sochi Winter Olympics. Here, Norway's Thomas Ulsrud delivers a stone during the 2012 World Men's Curling Championship.
Fabrice Coffrini
AFP/Getty Images
For some, the chance to watch curling is a reason to be excited about the Sochi Winter Olympics. Here, Norway's Thomas Ulsrud delivers a stone during the 2012 World Men's Curling Championship.

What are people excited about seeing at the Winter Games, which start this week? How do figure skaters spin without getting dizzy? What kind of place is Sochi? Those are some of the questions we're seeing on Quora, the question-and-answer site that calls itself "your best source of knowledge."

The site has set up a Sochi Olympics Hub that we'll be checking out during the Winter Games. We hope to bring you the most interesting questions that pop up. And feel free to comment here — or on the Quora site — with your own questions and answers.

Here are some of the questions we're seeing so far, as the Sochi games' first events get under way Thursday, along with answers:

Figure Skating: Why don't figure skaters get dizzy when they make turns?

Answered by Joseph Lee, U.S. Junior Nationals Competitor in both singles and pairs:

"It takes figure skaters a lot of practice, but after awhile they get used it and don't even notice it anymore.

"When first learning how to spin, they focus on something in the area and try to catch a glimpse of it with every rotation. For me, it was the large digital clock on the hockey scoreboard. However, if they take a break from skating, it takes a day or two to get used to the dizziness again.

"Rotating on one foot in figure skating is unlike rotating in say, ballet. If you notice in ballet, they sort of jerk their heads back to the same spot with every rotation. That is not the case with figure skating, where the rotations are much faster and up to 30 times or more in one spin combination."

Are people excited to watch the Winter Olympics in Sochi? Why or why not?

Answered by Ann Litz, Obsolete Librarian:

"I am excited about the Winter Olympics because only the Winter Olympics feature the utterly mesmerizing WTF sport known as...curling!

"I'm sure this Sport of Kings has a rich and fascinating history that doesn't involve cold drunk people throwing things bocce-style on a sheet of ice, but I don't really want to know.

Figure Skating: When watching figure skating, what's the easiest way to tell the difference between a lutz, toe loop, salchow, and an axel?

Answered by Kim Saari Merriam, Former competitive figure skater:

"It's all in the take-off of the jump, they all land the same. An axel takes off from a front edge, the lutz always takes off a long back edge. The other 2 are a little tricky to notice. Here is a video that explains the difference between the jumps:

Is Sochi known for anything other than hosting the 2014 Olympics?

Answered by Vladimir Novakovski, Born in Russia:

"It's the largest resort city in Russia. This makes sense because there is just a small strip of seaside Russian territory on the Black Sea, which is the only body of water that is warm enough to have a resort. It has generally been known in Russian culture as a vacation spot, like maybe Key West or Vegas in the United States.

"Why it is used as a site for the Wintergames when there are many other winter-like destinations in Russia is a different question — does not make too much sense to me, but maybe just to promote foreign tourism in the area."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.
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