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WORLD SPORT

Your guide to the Winter Olympic sports

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TORINO, Italy (CNN) -- Don't know a triple lutz from a death spiral? Can't tell the difference between downhill skiing and Nordic combined (and doesn't all skiing go downhill anyway)?

If your knowledge of the finer points of Winter Olympic sports is a little rusty, take heart. This is CNN.com's guide to all the sports featured at the Torino Games, to help you become an expert -- or at least sound like you are.

Alpine Skiing

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Arguably the most recognizable of the skiing disciplines at the Winter Olympics, the Alpine Skiing includes the downhill, the Super-G, the slalom and the giant slalom. Competition is open to men and women.

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Biathlon

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Biathlon combines cross-country skiing with shooting. Skiers must fire while in either the prone or standing position at targets 50 meters away. Competition is open to men and women, who compete over courses of different length.

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Bobsleigh

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Teams steer a sled down an icy course between 1,300 meters and 1,600 meters long, at speeds of up to 150 kilometers per hour. Competition is open to men and women, although a four-member sled event is open to men only.

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Cross-Country Skiing

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For the record -- this is the skiing event that is not primarily downhill. In fact, the courses run uphill in parts. Cross-country is held over 1.5 kilometers to 50 kilometers. Competition is held for men and women, who race over different distances.

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Curling

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A team of four send a 19 kilogram stone from one end of an icy lane to the other. On each throw, one member decides where the stone should be aimed, one pushes the stone and the other two sweep the ice in front as it makes its way along. For men and women.

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Figure Skating

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Another of the more famous of the Winter Olympic sports, figure skaters compete in individual events for men or women or in pairs events for men and women. Skaters must perform routines to set music and interpretative dances to music of their choosing.

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Freestyle Skiing

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In contrast to the other skiing discplines, freestyle skiing demands mid-air tricks from skiers. In the aerials, skiers must perform two jumps with airborne acrobatics. In the moguls, skiers must navigate a downhill course while also completing two smaller jumps. Open to men and women.

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Ice Hockey

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Perhaps the Winter Olympics sport that requires the least introduction. Two teams skate back and forth on an ice rink, each trying to put a puck in the opposition's goal. It's fast and furious, but skaters also need precise skills and the ability to think quickly.

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Luge

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Plunging down an icy track on a steep hill, with hair-raising twists and turns, as fast as you can. Luge is open to men and women, who compete on courses of different length. Competitors race individually and in teams of two.

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Nordic Combined

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A combination -- as the name suggests -- of cross-country skiing and ski jumping. Competitors must complete a cross-country course, the starting order and times being determined by the distances achieved in two jumps on a hill of either 90 meters or 120 meters.

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Skeleton

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Plunging down an icy track on a steep hill, with hair-raising twists and turns, as fast as you can -- head first. In Torino, competitors must race down a course with 19 turns and a vertical drop of more than 100 meters. The only way to stop is to drag your feet along the ice at the bottom.

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Ski Jumping

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Skiers gain speed going down a ramp before launching into a jump on either a 90-meter hill or a 120-meter hill. Points are added or deducted if a skier exceeds or falls short of a set point a certain distance from the take-off point. Skiers are also marked on their form in flight and in the landing.

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Snowboarding

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Perhaps the most spectacular event for the layman spectator, snowboarding grew out of a combination of influences from skateboarding and surfing. Competitors race each other in a parallel giant slalom or snowboard cross event, while in the half-pipe they must perform as many aerial manoeuvres as possible, the more difficult the better.

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Speed Skating

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A little like the cycling events at the Summer Olympic Games, speed skaters race in pairs around a track, with one skater starting on end side of the rink and the other skater starting on the opposite side. In the short track version, skaters start en masse and must complete the distance as quickly as possible while also taking care to avoid any collisions with their rivals.

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