No Bones About It: See How Terrifying the Sport of Skeleton Can Be


While ice skating has seen its fair share of sprained ankles and broken limbs, when it comes to death-defying winter sports, it's hard to compete with skeleton. In the Olympic sliding sport, riders take a running start and launch themselves face-first down an icy downhill track on a sled only an inch off the ground. Great Big Story followed two-time Olympic skeleton slider John Daly on one of his runs and, make no bones about it, this is not a sport for the faint-of-heart.

Elite skeleton sliders like Daly can regularly achieve speeds of 90 miles per hour during a run, experiencing forces of up to 5 Gs over the course of a race. This would be pretty heart-pounding no matter the sport, but for skeleton athletes, that kind of speed and force seems particularly harrowing. A skeleton slider's head hangs over the top of the sled, and that extra force makes their head harder to hold up. According to the British Bobsleigh and Skeleton Association, athletes slide down the course with their chins mere centimeters from the ice. Going around particularly high-speed corners, they'll often scrape the icy surface of the course with their chins—which in turn obscures their ability to see what's in front of them, forcing them to steer by feel until they can lift up their head again.

The event can be harrowing and even deadly, and is risky enough that it has been banned from the Olympics—twice. It returned to the Games in 2002 for the first time in 54 years.

"If you start to get stiff, if you start to get scared, it's not going to work—the sled's going to break loose on you and you are going to crash," Daly warns in the video. "You have to embrace the speed." Sounds simple, right?

Think you could handle it? Take a run with Daly in the video below.

[h/t Great Big Story]

How to Tie Your Shoes With One Hand, According to a Paralympian


Megan Absten lost her left arm in an ATV accident when she was 14, but the injury hasn't stopped her from doing extraordinary things like competing for the U.S. track and field team in the Paralympics. Nor has it stopped her from completing everyday tasks that most people need two hands for—like tying her shoes. After the shoe-tying methods she learned in physical therapy didn't cut it for her, she had to come up with her own one-handed trick. She shares her process in a new video spotted by Lifehacker.

First things first: Lay your laces on either side of your shoe. Next, use your hand to cross them and tuck one end through to make the beginning of your knot. Pin the end of one lace beneath the bottom of your foot to hold it tight, then pull the second lace up with your hand.

Now, you're ready to make your bunny ears. Create a loop with the free lace and pinch it between your thumb and index finger. Then, use your middle finger to grab the lace that you’ve been holding under your shoe. Circle this string around the loop, then push it through the opening to create your second bunny ear. Tighten the new knot by sticking your index finger and thumb in each loop and spreading them wide.

Watch Absten explain the process for herself in the video below. If you're feeling more advanced, she also demonstrates a second technique for you to try.

Once you've mastered those methods, try out these shoe hacks for happier feet.

[h/t Lifehacker]

2018 Winter Olympics By the Numbers: Which Country Was the Big Winner in Pyeongchang?


The closing ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics was held on Sunday, February 25, concluding more than two weeks of history-making figure-skating jumps and listening to curlers yell at each other. But if you're someone who tunes in to the Olympics only to see your country win, you may have been left feeling confused. There was no official winner announced at the end of the event, so how are you supposed to know which nation dominated the Winter Games? Judging solely by medal count, these are the countries that skied, skated, and slid their way to the top in Pyeongchang.

According to Bloomberg, Norway came out of the games as the most decorated country. The Scandinavian nation of 5.3 million took home 11 bronze, 14 silver, and 14 gold medals, bringing the total to 39. That makes Norway the biggest single nation winner at any Winter Olympics, breaking the prior record of 37, which was set by the U.S. at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Norway was represented by about half the number of athletes competing on Team USA, but it was bolstered by a few advantages—like long winters (making training for cross-country sports easier), universal healthcare, and a culture that encourages young athletes to play sports for the sake of play rather than for the sake of winning.

Germany tied Norway for the most golds with 14, but earned 10 silver and seven bronze medals, landing them in second place with 31. Canada ranked third with 29 medals overall, 11 of which were gold, and the United States came in fourth with a tally of 23 medals, including nine golds. The Netherlands, Sweden, South Korea, Switzerland, France, and Austria round out the top 10.

Teams used to spending a lot of time on the podium may strive for that top slot, but placing in any event is impressive. The majority of teams that competed went home without any medals to show for their efforts. Fortunately, they have until 2022 to prepare for the next Winter Olympics in Beijing.

[h/t Bloomberg]