The Winter Olympics in the Italian Language

Feb 19, 2018


I Giochi Olimpici

The Olympic Games

Once again the Olympics are underway, reminding us of their power to bring people together and create ties among them (il potere di riunire le persone e creare legami tra loro).

The Winter Olympics (Olimpiadi invernali) in the host city (città ospitante) of PyeongChang in South Korea (Corea del Sud) began with an impressive opening ceremony (la ceremonia di apertura) that featured the parade of nations (la parata della nazioni), the singing of the Olympic hymn (l'inno olimpico), the arrival of the torchbearer (il tedoforo) and the lighting of the Olympic flame (la fiamma olimpica).

The Games have brought together athletes (atlete) from around the world, with 92 countries and 2,920 athletes participating in 102 events in 15 sports.  La squadra italiana (the Italian team) consists of 120 members. The oldest (il più anziano) is a 37-year-old snowboarder (snowboardista) while the youngest (la più giovane) is a 17-year-old jumper (saltatrice), the first "millennial" to represent Italy in the Olympics.

Some of the sports of the Winter Olympics go by their English names: snowboard, curling, short track, biathlon and skeleton. Others may expand your Italian vocabulary (at they did mine):

    *Sci alpino (Alpine skiing), including discesa libera (downhill), super-g, slalom gigante (giant slalom), slalom speciale e combinata (special and combined slalom)

   *Sci di fondo (cross-country skiing)

    *Pattinaggio di figura (figure skating), with le gare di pattinaggio artistico (artistic skating competitions) for men, women and couples, along with la danza su ghiaccio (ice dancing)

    *Hockey su ghiaccio (ice hockey), with i tornei (tournaments) for men and women

    *Slittino (sledding)

    *Combinata nordica (Nordic combined), una combinazione di salto con gli sci e sci di fondo (a combination of ski jumping and cross-country skiing)

    *Salto con gli sci (ski jumping)

    *Pattinaggio di velocità (speed skating), with races ranging from 500 to 10,000 meters 

Athletes may strive to break a personal record (il record personale) or an Olympic record (il record olympico). Some may set a new world record (un nuovo record del mondo). At every awards ceremony the winners (i vincitori) mount the podium (salgono sul podio) and receive three medals: bronze (il bronzo), silver (l'argento) and gold (l'oro) as the national anthem (inno nazionale)  of the gold medal winner plays.

Words and Expressions

La squadra nazionale — the national team

Tuta da sci –- snowsuit

Villaggio olimpico –- Olympic Village

Mondovisione -– worldwide broadcast

Spirito sportivo –- sportsmanship

Più veloce, più in alto, più forte — the Olympic motto: faster, higher, stronger

Dianne Hales is the author of  MONA LISA: A Life Discovered and LA BELLA LINGUA: My Love Affair with italian, the World's Most Enchanting Language.



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