Animal Winter Olympics

The Winter Olympics brings together the top athletes from some of the most exciting and highly competitive winter sports. This year, athletes from all over the world have travelled to Sochi, Russia to compete for their chance to bring home the gold! But before you pick who you will cheer for we think you should meet some other contenders who are incredibly skilled on the snow and ice. Check out these amazing animals that we think should be in the Winter Olympics.

Ski Jumping

Contender: Snow Leopard (Panthera uncial)

ski jumping
Bio: Snow leopards have powerful legs that allow them to leap really far, covering distances of around 15 meters!

These amazing felines live in the mountains of Central Asia at elevations of 3,000-4,500 meters high. Snow leopards jump between ledges while on the hunt for prey but maybe they can be inspired to leap off cliffs to reach for Olympic glory.

snow leopard

Bobsleigh

Contender: Adelie Penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae)

bobsleigh olympic sport

Bio: To win at the bobsleigh athletes have to be great at sliding fast as part of a team and that’s a specialty of Adelie penguins. When walking, penguins are very slow, which is why they often get around by sliding across the ice on their bellies. Adelie penguins slide fearlessly down hills head first, using their feet to help them pick up speed.

bobsleigh penguins

Speed Skating

Contender: Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus)

speed skating olympic sport

Bio: The polar bear may not be able to glide on the ice, but even without blades they are fast! In short distances polar bears can run as fast as 40 kilometers per hour (25mph). They have small bumps on the bottom of their feet to give them traction on the ice. Top speed skaters tend to be faster, reaching speeds of over 45 kilometers per hour (31mph), but if we had a race on the ice with no skates we’re sure the polar bear would win.

running ice polar bear

Cross-Country Skiing

Contender: Woodland Caribou (Rangifer tarandus)

cross-country skiing

Bio: The woodland caribou can take off across the snow-covered tundra at speeds of around 60-80 kilometers per hour (36-48mph). Caribou have large and concave (curving inward) hooves, this shape helps them to move quickly across the snow. Even newborn calves are fast runners and are able to out pace a human, making a baby caribou a serious contender for the cross-country sprint to the podium.

cross country runner olympic caribou

 

Curling

Contender: Chinstrap Penguin (Pygoscelis Antarctica)

curling olympic sport
Bio: Curling is all about rocks! To win, players must slide a granite stone across a sheet of ice towards a circular target. Similarly, Chinstrap penguins spend a lot of time with stones, picking them up and placing them carefully in a circle to build a nest. With this kind of stone to circle accuracy we’re sure a penguin curling team would be a fan favourite!
curling rock and chinstrap penguin

What animals do you think would do amazing in the Winter Olympics? Leave a comment and tell us what you think!

 

References

Snow Leopard http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/22732/0

Adelie Penguin

http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Pygoscelis_adeliae/

http://www.penguinscience.com/education/adaptations_feet.php

Polar Bear

http://www.polarbearsinternational.org/about-polar-bears/essentials/walking-and-running

Woodland Caribou

http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Rangifer_tarandus/

Chinstrap Penguin

http://www.museums.norfolk.gov.uk/Whats_On/Virtual_Exhibitions/To_the_Ends_of_the_Earth_Norfolks_Place_in_Polar_Exploration/Antarctica_Finds/NCC082670

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42 Comments

  1. Green Bean
    FinnbarO says:

    Cool

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