12 Weird Olympic Slang Terms You've Never Heard Before

From super-G to luge booties, here are some of the biggest terms you might have heard for the first time in the insular world of winter sports.

You hear about first downs and home runs and three-pointers throughout the year every year, but there are a lot of jargon terms you may have heard for the first time on a broadcast of the 2022 Winter Olympics.

In the video above, you'll hear linguist David Caldwell from the University of South Australia talk about why athletes needed shorthand terms to talk about their sports.

"There's complexity in this world, and we need language to do that work for us in this world to be able to describe that complexity," Caldwell said.

Some of those terms can sound pretty funny to someone not familiar with how the sports are played. With that said, here are 12 terms that we want to talk about.


A shorter way to say “style with ease,” you might hear the term “steezy” pop up during a broadcast of snowboarding or freestyle skiing. It’s not just about landing amazing tricks; it’s about landing them with style.

NBC Olympics has videos of some of the steeziest signature skiing tricks for your enjoyment.

Super-G in skiing

There's slalom, giant slalom and then ... super giant slalom. In alpine skiing, the super-G is the biggest course with lots of distance to cover and gates to zip through.

Hammer in curling

No, it's not a weapon or a tool. In curling, a hammer is a name for the last shot of an end, or round. Sometimes, teams who want to control their destiny with that last shot will strategize to gain control of the hammer.

A quad in figure skating

This term has been everywhere the past few days because over the weekend, Russian phenom Kamila Valieva, 15, made history at the 2022 Games, becoming the first woman to land a quad in Olympic competition.

A quad in figure skating refers to a jump with at least four but fewer than five revolutions. Valieva actually performed two quads in her routine: a quad salchow, when you take off from the back inside edge of one skate and land on the back outside edge of the opposite skate, and a quad toe loop, when you take off and land on the outside edge of the same skate.

Forecheck in ice hockey

In hockey, a forecheck is a team effort to gain the puck from the opposing team. Smart skating, good positioning and being a nuisance are all parts of a good forecheck, and there are several different possible formations.

Hack weight in curling

In curling, hack weight is a shorthand way to refer to the force and momentum required for the stone to travel to the end. Want to hear more about curling? Check out the episode of NBCLX's My New Favorite Olympian podcast with U.S. curling champs John Shuster and Monica Walker.

Fortner action in biathlon

Biathlon is a combination of cross-country skiing and shooting, with shooting galleries stationed along the course. Most rifles you’ll see in biathlon events use a German technology that helps the gun repeatedly fire more quickly.

German gunsmith Peter Fortner pioneered the Fortner action, a mechanism that lets a shooter pull back to eject a spent round and load the next one into the chamber. Using the Fortner action in biathlon rifles saved two seconds per shot, plus additional time that would have been needed to readjust, according to Quartz.

Penalty kill in ice hockey

Uh-oh! Your team’s tough player just did a no-no and the refs saw it. It looks like that player will be going to the penalty box and will sit out for the next two minutes (if it’s a minor penalty). Your team is going to be down to four skaters while the other team will still have five, aka your team is on the penalty kill.

Power play in hockey

When a team gets a penalty and has to lose a player briefly, the team that has more players is on the power play. With the opposing team outnumbered, this is a great chance to score.

Sketchy in snowboarding

Snowboarders practically have their own language with all the time they spend up on the mountain. You might hear something referred to as "sketchy" when a snowboarder lands a trick but seems a little unsteady. Maybe they almost fell while doing it — it definitely wasn’t steezy.

Moguls in skiing

Freestyle skier Jaelin Kauf explains everything you might want to know about mogul skiing, the ultimate test of turns and aerial moves.

Moguls are both a skiing event and a feature of the course. Basically, they’re bumps or mounds of snow that require serious skill and dexterity to navigate with grace. Before taking silver for the U.S. in women’s moguls, skiier Jaelin Kauf explained mogul skiing in the video above.

Mogul is actually a loanword from German. "Mugel" means small hill.

Booties in luge

The shoes that lugers wear are called booties. In luge, perfect aerodynamics could be the split-second difference between winning a medal or not, so lugers’ footwear is optimized to reduced drag and help athletes get as much speed as possible.