From a science perspective, the great frozen stuff is the unsung hero in all these sports. Its slick surface (and low friction) allow skates, skis, snowboards, sleds, and curling stones to slide smoothly, with a lot of help from some talented athletes, who have trained for years. Of course, it also creates all kinds of problems under suboptimal conditions: bad surfacing thwarted speed skaters yesterday. And warm weather made skiing a slushy mess.
I’ve also collected a few links related to Olympic science:
- Ice, hockey and sliding friction at the Physics of Hockey.
- Learn your physics through luge and figure skating.
- Finally, a Discover magazine article, the Physics of Skiing (by @20tauri, who also writes Annals of Spacetime)
- UPDATE FEB 17: How did I miss this? NSF and NBC team up with videos discussing the Science of the Olympic Winter Games
P.S. As I’m glued to my television and pondering ice and physics, I’m also thinking of the family of Nodar Kumaritashvili. A horrible crash and a tragic loss.