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Olympic Alpine Skiing



Olympic Alpine Skiing
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 5
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   2.61

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    high-speed, non-motorized, snow-covered, Sondre, feat, alpine, lifestyle, sheer, skier, indoor, anyone, rustic, fastest, zoom, rocks, electric
     content words:    In Sweden, Sondre Norheim, Giant Slalom, Picabo Street, World Cup Series, National Ski Hall, Bode Miller, New Hampshire, Winter Olympics, World Cup Overall Title


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Olympic Alpine Skiing
By Phyllis Naegeli
  

1     Why would anyone want to ski down a mountain? First, you have to put on hard, rigid boots. Then you secure the boots to a long pair of thin sticks. You get on a chair that takes you to the top of a mountain. It's cold up there! Now you have to get down. To do this, you point your skis towards the bottom of the mountain. Alpine skiing is called "the fastest non-motorized (land) sport." That's because you can go pretty fast! Downhill skiers can be going sixty miles per hour. Zoom!
 
2     Millions of people enjoy this sport. It is even an Olympic event. So, where did this sport begin? It began a long time ago. Skis have been around for thousands of years. There are pictures of skis on rocks in Norway. They are 4,000 to 5,000 years old. In Sweden, a very old ski was found. It is thought to be 4,500 years old. Sondre Norheim from Norway is called the father of skiing. Norway is also the home of many skiing "firsts." It had the first ski club, the first ski school, and the first ski race.
 
3     In 1936, alpine (downhill) skiing became an Olympic sport. That year, skiers raced in the Downhill and the Slalom. Today, men and women can ski in five different alpine events. In the Downhill, skiers take one high-speed run down a snow-covered slope. There are also three different slalom events. The Super-G is a fast run through gates placed on the slope. Skiers get one chance to do their best. The Giant Slalom is a race through gates also. The gates are placed closer together than in the Super-G. Skiers have to be able to maneuver quickly through them. All skiers get one run. Their goal is to be in the top thirty. These top skiers are given a second chance to see who wins. The Slalom is similar to the Giant Slalom. The course is just shorter. Skiers take two runs to see who wins. The final competition is the Combined event. Athletes do one downhill run and two slalom runs in a single day. In each event, the fastest skier wins.

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