Winter Olympics Insanity Scale

Face it — if you’ve watched the Winter Olympics at all, you know that feeling of alarm. As you watch Gregor Schlierenzauer take a flying leap in the Alpine ski jump, Lindsey Vonn rocket down a mountainside in the super-G, or any of those skeleton racers shoot face first down an icy track, you can’t help but think it: “How insane would you have to be to do that??” We thought we’d entertain this very unscientific question and feel out an answer for a range of Winter Olympics events:

How Insane Do You Have To Be?


Not at all — though being a bit of a clean freak doesn’t hurt.
Insanity Scale Rating: 0.0


Yeah, there’s risk and it often looks nuts, but with helmets and all of that padding, it still comes in below figure skating.
Insanity Scale Rating: 1.0

Figure Skating

The skating itself? Only mildly crazy. Wearing some of those outfits, though …
Insanity Scale Rating: 2.5

Short Track Speed Skating

Not unlike roller derby on ice with a shot of dignity. A great sport if you like to fall a lot.
Insanity Scale Rating: 4.5

Ice Hockey

Full-contact team sport on ice with sharp blades underfoot, everyone brandishing sticks and a freezing rubber disk that can travel near 100 miles per hour? This is where the real insanity begins.
Insanity Scale Rating: 6.0


The idea of crushing into a sled with one or three others and barreling down a track of ice-coated concrete sounds like a drunken college prank, not the beginnings of a great new sport.
Insanity Scale Rating: 7.5


Let’s try going down that track at 65 miles an hour (or more) lying three inches from the ice’s surface. No, really — let’s try it!
Insanity Scale Rating: 8.5


OK, now do the same thing face first!
Insanity Scale Rating: 9.0


Shooting down a mountainside at roughly 65 miles per hour on skis, ice everywhere and the clock always bearing down, urging you to go faster, regardless of the risk? Crazy. But not as crazy as …
Insanity Scale Rating: 9.5

Ski Jumping

These four words should say it all, ABC’s Wide World of Sports fans: The agony of defeat.
Insanity Scale Rating: 10.0