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Winter Olympic Terms You’ve Probably Never Heard

Feb. 17, 2022

Eileen Gu (谷爱凌 Gǔ Àilíng) may be a new name to many Americans, but the Chinese freestyle skier became a household name leading up to the 2022 Winter Olympic Games (冬奥会 dōng ào huì). Known on the slopes for her daring acrobatic feats, and online for being a model and spokesperson for Tiffany & Company, Victoria’s Secret, and IWC (among other brands), Eileen is one of the first in a new generation of Chinese athletes to gain recognition and influence outside of sports.

Speaking of a new face on the winter sports scene, today we’re bringing some new words and terms to make your vocabulary truly “Olympic” level!

HSK 3 quiz

1. 冰壶 (bīng hú)

The patron saint of I-could-totally-be-in-the-Olympics-ers everywhere, curling is known as “ice pot” in Chinese.

HSK 3 quiz

冰壶 (bīng hú): n. curling


rú guǒ wǒ xué huì le bīng hú, wǒ jué duì kě yǐ chéng wéi yī míng ào yùn huì yùn dòng yuán.
如  果   我   学  会  了 冰   壶,我  绝  对  可 以   成     为  一   名   奥  运   会   运    动     员。
I could definitely be an Olympic athlete if I learned to play curling.

wǒ yǐ wéi wǒ huì fēi cháng shàn cháng bīng hú, dàn wǒ shì guò le, cǎn zāo shī bài.
我  以 为  我  会  非    常      擅       长     冰   壶,但    我 试  过  了,惨  遭   失  败。
I thought I’d be really good at curling, but I tried it and failed miserably.

2. 暖宝宝 (nuǎn bǎo bǎo)

Every wonder how these winter athletes can stay in the snow for so long? Chances are they’re packing a couple (or a dozen) disposable hand warmers.

HSK 3 quiz

暖宝宝 (nuǎn bǎo bǎo): n. (disposable) hand warmer


wǒ de shǒu dōu dòng jiāng le, xìng kuī wǒ dài le nuǎn bǎo bǎo !
我   的  手     都    冻      僵   了,幸  亏  我   带 了   暖    宝    宝!
My hands are freezing, thank goodness I brought hand warmers!

nǐ kě yǐ zài rèn hé yī jiā zhōng guó biàn lì diàn suí shí zhǎo dào nuǎn bǎo bǎo.
你 可 以 在  任  何 一 家   中     国   便  利  店   随  时   找    到     暖    宝    宝。
You can always find hand warmers in any Chinese convenience store.

3. U(型)池 (U (xíng)chí)

Some of the most excited moments every 4 years come when skiers and snowboarders fly up the side of the half-pipe, throw a trick, land, and fly many meters into the air to do it all over again. Note the use of the English letter in this vocab word to describe the shape of the object.

HSK 3 quiz

U型池 (U xíng chí): n. half-pipe


U xíng chí bǐ sài shì tā de qiáng xiàng.
U   型  池  比 赛 是 她  的    强     项。
Half-pipe competitions are her forte.

wǒ xǐ huān dān bǎn huá xuě, suǒ yǐ wǒ xiǎng zài zì jǐ de fáng zi wài miàn jiàn yī gè U xíng chí.
我 喜   欢     单   板   滑    雪,所 以 我    想    在 自己的   房  子  外   面    建  一 个 U  型   池。
I love snowboarding, so I want to build a half-pipe outside my own house.

4. 后空翻 (hòu kōngfān)

Who knew there were so many ways to fly through the air? We don’t know about you, but popping even the most basic backflip would have our hearts racing!

HSK 3 quiz

后空翻 (hòu kōngfān): n. backflip


nà gè zhù míng de huá xuě zhě zuò le yī gè qián kōng fān hé yī gè shuāng hòu kōng fān !
那  个  著    名    的  滑   雪   者   做  了 一 个  前    空    翻  和 一 个     双      后    空     翻!
That famous skier did one front flip and a double backflip!

wǒ lín jū de xiǎo gǒu jí wá wá kě yǐ zuò hòu kōng fān .
我  邻 居 的  小    狗 吉 娃  娃  可 以 做   后    空    翻。
My neighbor’s Chihuahua puppy can do a backflip.

5. 守门员 (shǒu mén yuán)

Hockey is one of the most classic winter sports ever, but how many positions can you actually name? We’re guessing you know the English word “goalie”, but what about in Chinese?

HSK 3 quiz

守门员 (shǒu mén yuán): n. goalie


qū gùn qiú shǒu mén yuán bǐ wǒ xiǎng xiàng de líng huó de duō.
曲   棍   球    守     门    员   比  我   想      象    的   灵   活  得  多。
Hockey goalies are much more flexible than I imagined.

wǒ shū shū shuō shǒu mén yuán shì zuì zhòng yào de tuán duì chéng yuán, dàn wǒ bù tài què dìng .
我   叔   叔    说     守     门     员    是  最    重     要   的   团    队    成       员,但   我  不  太  确   定。
My uncle said the goalie is the most important team member, but I’m not so sure.

We’ve loved watching the 2022 Winter Olympics so far, and hope that these terms give you something else to talk about the next time you turn on your TV! We’d also love to hear from you about your experience this year, so let us know in the comments who your favorite athlete is, what sports you like to watch, and if you can do a backflip, send us a video of it!

You May Want to Learn More :

“The Best Festivals You’ve Never Heard of”

“Olympic City Tour—Our First Station: Qingdao”

”Olympic City Tour—Our Second Station: Shenyang”

HSK 1 quiz

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