Fun words for 2014 Winter Olympics

Feb 9, 2014

The acronym YOLO has gotten a new lease on life with the "YOLO flip."

This week on That’s What They Say, Host Rina Miller and University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan reveal words to know for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.   

YOLO, an acronym that means “you only live once,” was popularized in 2011. Now the acronym has taken on a new meaning with the YOLO flip, a snowboarding term for the “cab double cork 1440.”

Swiss snowboarder Iouri Podladtchikov, also known as I-Pod, named the move after landing it at the 2013 X-Games.

There are other moves and tricks that may come up in the 2014 Olympics. The lutz, a figure-skating jump, was derived from the name of Swiss skater Gustave Lussi. Similarly, the figure skating move salchow is an eponym for Swedish athlete Ulrich Salchow.

Ever wonder how the verb “to medal” took on its meaning? “It first shows up as a verb in the mid 19th century to mean to confer a medal,” Curzan explains. “Then in 1865 it shows up to mean to win a medal.”

The origins of Olympic terms span the globe. Slalom and ski come from Scandinavia, luge has roots in Switzerland, and mogul was derived in Germany.

What are your favorite Olympic words? Let us know by writing on our Facebook wall or commenting on our website.

– Clare Toeniskoetter, Michigan Radio Newsroom