Behold the Wonder of Ski Ballet

The almost-Olympic sport once delighted fans with one-and-a-half twisting poll flips on a bunny slope
More

Like millions of people around the world, I spent my Sunday watching several Winter Olympic competitions in Sochi, including cross-country skiing and figure skating. But I never dared to dream that these two sports could possibly be mushed together. Figure skating—on skis? It sounds like an elaborate way to purposefully pull a groin muscle.

But it is (or was) a real sport with an improbably classy name: Ski Ballet. This transcendental snow dance, a campy celebration of twirling and thrusting, was a demonstration sport at the 1988 and 1992 Winter Olympics. It's as if ballet dancers were forced to wear skis on a bunny slope and said: No matter, I shall still dance.

You won't find any downhill skiers executing a "one-and-a-half twisting poll flip" this year, unless something goes terribly wrong, but our collective memory of ski ballet lives on forever on YouTube. Here are two videos: the first from a non-Olympic competition (via 22 Words) and the second from the 1988 Calgary games.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity

Video

Is Technology Making Us Better Storytellers?

The minds behind House of Cards and The Moth weigh in.

Video

A Short Film That Skewers Hollywood

A studio executive concocts an animated blockbuster. Who cares about the story?

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Video

What Is a Sandwich?

We're overthinking sandwiches, so you don't have to.

Video

Let's Talk About Not Smoking

Why does smoking maintain its allure? James Hamblin seeks the wisdom of a cool person.

Writers

Up
Down

More in Entertainment

Just In