Olympics Vocabulary for Champions

Train for some Olympics-viewing with this list, then whip new words out at the water cooler as you go for the (conversational) gold!

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. motivated
    given incentive for action
    She started skating at 5 or 6 years old, motivated to attend practice every week by her coach, who said her purple skating costume made her his best-dressed pupil.Los Angeles Times (Feb 7, 2018)
  2. victorious
    having won
    Whoever emerges victorious with a place on the podium in Pyeongchang, the fans are guaranteed to be winners of the event as the big air looks to shine on Olympics debut.Reuters (Jan 8, 2018)
  3. federation
    an organization formed by merging several groups or parties
    The NHL's decision not to allow its players to represent their homelands in these Winter Games sent national hockey federations scrambling to fill their rosters.Los Angeles Times (Feb 5, 2018)
  4. anticipation
    the act of predicting, as by reasoning about the future
    The day before the much-anticipated men’s halfpipe competition in snowboarding at the Sochi Olympics, there were broad concerns ranging from the shape of the pipe to the warming weather conditions.
    -- At Halfpipe, Warm Temperatures and Grumbling Olympians, The New York Times, Feb. 10, 2014
  5. comeback
    return by a celebrity to some previously successful activity
    But first, in the wake of Höfl-Riesch’s steely comeback victory Monday, and after Mancuso’s stunning resurrection, there is time to celebrate two of the finest women’s Olympic Alpine skiers of this generation.
    -- Höfl-Riesch Wins Super Combined; Mancuso Takes Bronze, The New York Times, Feb. 10, 2014
  6. achievement
    the action of accomplishing something
    The victory at the Iceberg Skating Palace brought a buoyant moment for the home country and a restorative achievement for a dominant figure skating team that had failed to win a gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
    -- Figure Skating Gold Is Russia’s First, The New York Times, Feb. 9, 2014
  7. valedictory
    a farewell oration
    Evgeni Plushenko, 31, the Russian star competing in his fourth Games, won the men’s long program Sunday with a valedictory performance that was full of showmanship and calculatedly lacking in risk.
    -- Figure Skating Gold Is Russia’s First, The New York Times, Feb. 9, 2014
  8. quadrennium
    a period of four years
    The gravity-taunting soars on, and as the quadrenniums roll by, the Winter Olympics keep adding fresh diversions in an attempt to catch up with the curve.
    -- For Austrians, Downhill Is the Extreme Sport to Own, The New York Times, Feb. 10, 2014
  9. gravitas
    formality in bearing and appearance
    But the downhill, one of the original extreme winter events, has a simplicity, a rich history and a certain gravitas that the new arrivals lack.
    -- For Austrians, Downhill Is the Extreme Sport to Own, The New York Times, Feb. 10, 2014
  10. contingent
    determined by conditions or circumstances that follow
    North Korea agreed to participate in the Olympics, sending a contingent of 22 athletes across the border.Los Angeles Times (Feb 6, 2018)
  11. torch
    a light usually carried in the hand
    When the torch is lit during the opening ceremonies in Pyeongchang’s Olympic stadium on Friday night, it will become one of many flames being fanned around the world.Washington Times (Feb 7, 2018)
  12. ceremony
    a formal event performed on a special occasion
    As he did at Rio, Taufatofua will carry Tonga’s flag at Friday’s opening ceremony as the country’s sole athlete at the Games.Reuters (Feb 8, 2018)
  13. podium
    a platform raised above the surrounding level
    He reached a handful of podiums at international competitions before making history at the 2017 US Championships, where he triumphed by becoming the first skater to land five quadruple jumps in a single program.The Guardian (Feb 8, 2018)
  14. quadruple
    having four units or components
    Chen, 18, is the United States’ best hope for gold in men’s singles, with fluency in five types of quadruple jumps.Washington Post (Feb 7, 2018)
  15. contender
    the contestant you hope to defeat
    Shiffrin is a prohibitive favorite to defend the slalom title she won in Sochi, a top contender in the giant slalom and the favorite in the combined.Washington Times (Feb 8, 2018)
  16. toboggan
    a long narrow sled without runners
    The annual race down the 400-foot toboggan chute got underway Saturday.Washington Times (Feb 11, 2017)
  17. detente
    the easing of tensions or strained relations
    The sudden Olympics-inspired mood of detente began after Kim Jong Un said in a New Year’s Day address that he was willing to send a delegation to the Olympics.Seattle Times (Feb 6, 2018)
  18. prowess
    a superior skill learned by study and practice
    The Koreans are better known for their prowess in short track, but the Dutchman is bringing his vast experience to bear on honing their technique over the longer distances.Reuters (Jan 15, 2018)
  19. alpine
    relating to or characteristic of high mountains
    Only five athletes will compete in South Korea; two alpine skiers and three for the cross-country events.The Guardian (Feb 7, 2018)
  20. rivalry
    the act of competing as for profit or a prize
    The sibling rivalry aside, both brothers will face strong opposition from Germany, Austria, Poland and Norway in Pyeongchang.Reuters (Jan 8, 2018)
  21. debut
    the act of beginning something new
    So the Olympic debut of mixed doubles curling here at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games begs the question — at least to all but curling practitioners — why isn’t curling a student sport in the first place?Washington Post (Feb 6, 2018)

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