This Olympic rings Venn diagram simplifies the sports of Sochi

For many viewers, the Winter Olympics are a somewhat unfamiliar affair, full of sports that many people don't encounter on a regular basis. Unless you spend a bunch of time on a mountain or in an ice rink, the rules and regulations of anything from snowboarding to ice dancing might come across as another language. It can all be a little confusing.

[Photos: Athletes partying after the Closing Ceremony]

Unless, that is, you think of the Winter Olympics sports as falling within four distinct categories: riding on the ice, standing on the ice, standing on the snow, and flying over the snow. This Olympic rings Venn diagram explains it as simply as possible (via Reddit):

It's possible to quibble with these classifications — for instance, in biathlon, competitors sometimes lie down in the snow to shoot — but it's hard to come up with a quicker explanation than this one.

Suddenly, understanding the intricacies of ice dancing doesn't seem so intimidating. It's just standing on ice, right?

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Eric Freeman is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!