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Ranking the Most Popular Winter Olympic Sports

10th Feb 2018
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The 2018 Winter Olympics have begun in Pyeongchang , South Korea and it’s time to cheer on our athletes. If the Olympics have taught us anything, it’s that there is great merit in ranking things in numerical order. This is a fun and useful exercise! Over the next few weeks, the Olympic judges will rank the participants within the 15 Winter Olympic sports to determine who deserves a gold medal and who deserves to be pushed down the luge track without a sled. But how do the sports themselves rank? Rank your favorite winter sport and share your ranking with others!

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Ranking the Most Popular Winter Olympic Sports



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Curling is a Winter Olympic outlier. The competitors are often older than their Olympic brethren, and their athleticism is often less immediately apparent. It’s probably the most complicated Winter Olympic sport insofar as a casual viewer will not immediately be able to apprehend the rules or the scoring. (The mixed doubles curling event, added this year, is purportedly simpler, in the same way juggling 11 balls at once is purportedly simpler than juggling 12. You still have to know how to juggle in the first place!) It has only been consistently contested in the Olympics for a couple of decades, and yet feels like a holdover from a much older era. It is cerebral where the other winter sports are elemental. And yet its oddness is its primary virtue. I will watch curling over many other Winter Olympic sports precisely because it is so different and I do not understand what is happening. The games could use more weirdness.
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