Not every sport at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games is based on speed. For those that are, the velocities range from 11 m.p.h. — that would be curling — to speeds that would be considered reckless driving.
To put a few of these speed-oriented Olympic sports in perspective, we decided to race their athletes against a snow leopard. (We picked the snow leopard because the great cat, a vulnerable species native to Central and South Asia, though not South Korea, might feel right at home on the icy slopes of the Winter Olympics courses.) Snow leopards can sprint between 35 and 40 m.p.h. — we averaged that range and rounded up to 38.
As for how fast different Olympians can go in their sports, the figures are all over the place. The most thorough source appears to be The Washington Post‘s accounting based on a variety of winter sport authorities, including the World Curling Federation. Just click or tap “Go” to see which athletes can beat this elegant Panthera in a head-to-head matchup.
(Curling was not including out of consideration for the reader’s time, since it would take about 18 seconds for the poor curler to make it across the screen.)
Of course, snow leopards are far from the speediest creatures roaming the earth, sky and sea. Or even the fastest great cat. Cheetahs have been clocked at 61 m.p.h., the precise average speed that U.S. skiing champ Lindsey Vonn achieved at the 2016 World Cup. Meanwhile, the peregrine falcon — which can be found in South Korea — can reach 200 m.p.h. in a dive, according to the Conservation Institute. Fortunately for Vonn and her fellow U.S. Olympians, none of these animals knows how to ski.