February 7, 2014

Chart of the Week: How the Winter Olympics has raised its ‘cool’ factor


With the XXII Winter Olympics now underway in Sochi, some viewers (especially those who remember watching Peggy Fleming, Dorothy Hamill and the Heiden siblings) may experience a bit of disconnect with several of this year’s events. What on earth is the ski halfpipe or snowboard slopestyle, anyway?

Since the early 1990s, as The Economist chart above shows, Olympics organizers have steadily added more and more freestyle skiing, snowboarding and other X Games-style events in a bid to appeal to younger viewers. At Sochi, according to the magazine, 20 of the 98 official events are “cool.” (Wondering what all those mid-air spins and flips are all about? The New York Times asked several athletes to explain their tricks.)

Fiddling with the event lineup is nothing new, though the chart makes clear that the trend has been more about adding than dropping events. (Some of the events you’ll miss out on this year are skijoring, sled dog racing and bandy.) Some of that expansion has been a consequence of opening many sports that for decades were men-only to female athletes (that’s our silver medal Chart of the Week). For the first time this year, for instance, women will compete in ski jumping.

Category: Chart of the Week

Topics: International Organizations

  1. Photo of Drew DeSilver

    is a senior writer at Pew Research Center.

1 Comment

  1. Augustus Hipp4 years ago

    I see many reports on global warming, however, I never see any mention of volcanic activity, oceanic methane gas or forest fires that also must contribute huge amounts of carbon dioxide and other pollution to the atmosphere. Why are they never mentioned? I, for one , do not believe man is responsible for global warming. If one studies world geology over the past few million years, they see that the earth has gone from a hot desert condition to that of a global iceberg. It is all part of the natural geological process that the earth goes through periodically.
    If one considers and factors-in all pollution contributors, how can anyone blame man for the warming condition?