Winter sports champions

  • What is the size of a target in biathlon ?
  • What is inside a pair of skis ?
  • Who won the Olympic downhill in 1998 ?
  • Are there medals in the Paralympics ?
  • How do you do a lutz ?
  • What is so special about bobsled shoes ?

These athletes, these champion sliders, use their knowledge to improve equipment. What a difference between the wooden boards of Emile Allais and the carbon/kevlar race machines of Franck Piccard or Jean-Luc Crétier, who won the Olympic downhill in 1998 ! Skiing technique improved through the efforts of Jean-Claude Killy, Christine and Marielle Goitschel, Jean Vuarnet which shows that you don't become an Olympic champion by chance.

In 1992, Edgar Grospiron experienced the "most intense days of his life" and offered his gold medal in artistic skiing to the House of the Winter Olympic Games so that all could enjoy it. You will also see the medals won by Alain Marguerettaz at the Salt Lake City Paralympic Games in 2002.

A biathlon target is about the size of an Olympic medal : for the prone firing, you must hit a circle of 4,5cm at a distance of 50m.

In figure skating, skaters do a triple lutz, a jump that took its name from the Austrian Alois Lutz, in 1971. Today, better ice, and the more precise blades, allow quadruple jumps. Each sport has specialised equipment. For curling granite stones, a brush and one sliding shoe and another that grips. For hockey, lots of protective gear and skates with short blades. And for bobsleigh, a skin tight suit and shoes with small spikes for the start push !

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