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The games of the XXIII Winter Olympics began last week in PeyongChang, South Korea. And since French is one of the official languages of the Jeux olympique (Olympic games, often abbreviated in French as les JO), I thought we’d take a look this week at some useful French Olympics vocabulary.
Les sports des JO d’hiver / The Winter Olympic sports
There are 15 major categories of sport in this years JO, though since they all come in many varieties, the number of actual competitions (and competitors) is much greater. The major categories are:
|Hockey sur glace||Ice hockey|
|Patinage artistique||Figure skating|
|Patinage de vitesse||Speed skating|
|Patinage de vitesse sur piste courte||Short-track skating|
|Ski acrobatique||Free-style skiing|
|Ski alpin||Downhill skiing|
|Ski nordique^||Nordic skiing^|
|Combiné nordique||Nordic combined|
|Saut à ski||Ski jumping|
|Ski de fond||Cross-country skiing|
L’équipe française / The French team
France is sending 108 athletes to PeyongChang. They will compete in onze épreuves* (11 events). There are no French teams for curling, hockey sur glace, luge, or skeleton.
Et pour finir / Finally
Il fait très froid à PeyongChang! / It is very cold in PeyongChang. So cold in fact that they’ve had to delay some of the events. Recently I came across a new word in French for something to keep your hands warm: mitaines. I was familiar with gants (gloves) and moufles (mitten) but mitaines was new to me. And while I assumed that it was a borrowed word from the English mitten, it turns out that mitaines is an old French world that actually gave us the English word!
* épreuves can mean event as in a sporting contest, but it can also mean a test, a trial, or an ordeal, a test of strength or of character.
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Image Credit: By Korea.net / Korean Culture and Information Service (Photographer name), CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31702226