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Explore the Winter Olympic Games on the Internet!


Which Web sites are the best ones to supplement your students' study of the Winter Olympic Games? Come along as we explore medal-winning "Winter-net" sites for students of all ages!

Note: Be sure to check out this week's Education World LESSON PLANNING page for a dozen cross-curriculum activities and a handful of Teaching Masters for students of all ages. Many of the activities make use of the Internet sites detailed below.


The countdown continues to the February 7 start of the XVIII Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, Japan. The Nagano Games, the last Olympic Winter Games of the 20th century, will include 68 medal events including one new sport, Curling, and two new events, Snowboard and women's Ice Hockey. About 3,000 athletes and officials, representing 60 countries, are expected to participate.

Thousands of people around the world will witness the XVIII Winter Olympic Games in person in Nagano. Millions of people will be watching on television in their living rooms. And millions more will be following this year's Winter Games in cyberspace! A handful of excellent Internet sites -- Can we call them "Winternet" sites? -- will bring the sights and sounds of the Olympics to home computer screens. These choice Web sites offer many unique features -- news and interviews, photos, real-time results, and more!

Education World has checked out handfuls of Olympic Web sites -- official and unofficial. The balance of this article will highlight some of the best sites.


Where to begin? The best place to start is probably with the Official Olympic Winter Games Site, produced by IBM for the Nagano Olympic Organizing Committee. Join the countdown to the games and see the real time in Nagano. (It might be tomorrow in Japan!) The site is full of excellent information (even if the pages are slo-o-o-o-w to load). From the site's home page you can access the latest news, an event schedule, torch relay information and a map, a "daily snapshot from Nagano," and much more. While you're at it, check out the official posters and the official sports posters of the Nagano Games. Those posters might make great classroom decorations; just click on an image to enlarge it and then print out the poster. Also, be sure to read the "Did You Know?" facts on each page of the site. Then:

  • Click on the News button to read some of the latest news (including news of recent snow accumulations in Nagano), to search the site's database, or to receive a weekly newsletter, The Olympic Insider, during the Games.
  • Click on Venues to learn about the sites of your favorite Olympic sports. You can find venue information by identifying the city or town of the venue, the name of the venue, or the name of the sport.
  • Click on Sports, then on the appropriate icon, to read an "introduction" to each sport. In addition, read rules and check out the schedule and the venue for each sport.
And don't miss the Official Olympic Winter Games Kids' Site, called Kids Plaza. Here kids will meet the official mascots of the Nagano Games -- "Snowlets" named Sukia, Nokki, Lekki, and Tsukki. (Put together the first two letters of each of their names to form the word "Snowlets.") The Snowlets introduce all kinds of fun for kids ages 2 to 85. Kids can write and submit stories, play a trivia game, printout and color Snowlet coloring pages, and learn about Olympic sports. In addition, kids can write and send messages to friends or family on special digital postcards. And they can learn to create origami Snowlets!


While you're surfing, take a spin by a few more 1998 Winter Olympic Games sites. The United States Olympic Committee Winter Olympic Site includes pages related to each sport. Each page offers bios of U.S. team members, news about the sport, a quiz, a "crash course" in the technical aspects of the sport, and the Winter Games schedule. On the site you'll also find a clock that tells the time in each U.S. time zone and in Japan. During the Games, the site will provide updated news and track the medal counts. You can sign up here for a daily newsletter that will include the day's news and results from the previous day. A search engine allows you to search for information about a particular sport or athlete. You can click on any date on the Olympic calendar and learn which events are scheduled for that day.

CBS will broadcast the Nagano Games to millions of U.S. Olympic fans. In addition, you can follow the Games on the Web at CBS Sportsline. Check CBS Sportsline for the latest news related to each Olympic sport. You'll also find Olympic history, photos, athlete profiles, event overviews and rules, schedules, and medal counts. In addition, share your thoughts about the Olympics in the site's chat room. Kids will want to check out the CBS KidZone. Here kids can read about each sport; play games that include Grab the Gold and Memory Match (Shockwave required); and chat in their own chat room. (Be sure students understand the importance of not giving out any personal information when they are chatting.) This site also offers kids the chance to write and send online Olympic postcards to their friends.

USA Today's Nagano 98 Web site provides the latest news in their Olympic Digest, tons of information about Olympic sports in their Sports Notebooks, and journals written by members of the U.S. Olympic team. Participate in the site's "Ask the Athlete" cyber-conversations and check out some of USA Today's famous graphics that explain the technical aspects of figure skating, hockey, alpine skiing, and the biathlon. Keep current on Japan Weather and read articles including one that gets in the middle of the "How do you pronounce Nagano?" debate. (NAH-gah-no? Nah-GAH-no? Both are correct!) And check out the Parade of Nations; click on each country name to learn basic almanac facts about that country and to see its flag.

Article by Gary Hopkins
Education World® Editor-in-Chief
Copyright © 1998 Education World

Related Sites


  • CNN/Sports Illustrated Winter Olympics in Nagano Olympic news, medal history, schedules, and more. A special page for each sport. Older students might want to check out the message boards for the Nagano Games. Among the discussions going on: Who will be the star of the Winter Olympics? Who's going to win figure skating gold? Will Canada destroy the U.S. in hockey?
  • ESPN SportsZone Winter Olympics Includes sport-by-sport viewer's guides, rosters, and almanac information. Check out "Today at the Games" each day for highlights of the day's planned events.
  • World Book Special Feature: The Olympic Games Text from the famous information resource includes sections about ceremonies and symbols; Olympic competition; the Ancient Games; and the Modern Games.
  • U.S. Figure Skating Association Home page for the USFSA includes results, press releases, event information, and more.
  • The U.S. Ski Team Home Page The latest news in alpine, cross country, freestyle, and disabled skiing. Also ski jumping and snowboarding.
  • USA Hockey The official home page of USA Hockey includes headlines, a fan forum, and merchandise.
  • Choose an Athlete's Home Page Many Olympic athletes have set up their own home pages here. Select home pages by sport, country, or name.