Like me, there’s a very real chance you’ve seen videos of speed skiing in the past. An individual in a skintight suit and a large, goofy looking helmet hauls down a straight trail attempting to reach the highest speed possible. Did you know, however, that this was an event in the 1992 Olympics? You might have, and you might be looking at your phone or computer screen wondering how I never knew this before. But, personally, I wasn’t alive for the 1992 Olympics, and I had no idea speed skiing was featured.
Speed skiing has been around since the late 1800s, and has always been one of the fastest ways for humans to move without the assistance of a motor. Italian Ivan Origone set the speed skiing record at 158.424 mph in 2016, which he still holds.
In the Olympics, however, speed skiing was only featured as a demonstration sport for one year, in 1992. It’s been considered too dangerous to earn a continuous spot in the Olympics, and even the speed skiing World Cup was halted by the international ski federation in 2007.
Speed skiing is no where near the weirdest thing to appear in the Olympics as a demonstration sport. In 1900, pigeon racing, cannon firing, firefighting, and much more were featured in the Paris Olympics. The 1908 Olympics featured cycle polo, and the 1936 olympics featured gliding.
Speed skiing, unfortunately, does not seem like it will return to the Olympics any time soon, though there are still people competing and attempting to break records here and there around the world.
Photos and Videos from Olympics