The 10 Most Popular Winter Olympic Sports

Elite athletes competing at the Olympic level creates the perfect recipe for some of the most thrilling and inspiring sporting events in the world. From edge-of-your seat, photo-finish moments to stunning displays of aerial abilities, the Winter Olympic Games are absolutely energizing and always exciting.

Over the years the Olympic lineup has seen sports come and go. Thrilling sports that used to be a celebrated part of the Games have been cut from the official roster while new events are considered and added each year. This year alone we'll see the debut of twelve new sports, including team figure skating, ski halfpipe, and both ski and snowboard slopestyle.  

Click here to see the 10 most popular Winter Olympic sports.

No doubt, the variety of events included in the Games is one of the most important factors in contributing to an extra exciting week of sports spectating. Have you ever wondered which events are most beloved, though? There's definitely no definitive, set-in-stone answer to the question. After all, the Olympics have been around for 90 years and are constantly adapting to fit popular demand.

But by taking a look at the TV ratings and Internet buzz surrounding last year's games and the many speculations about the upcoming Games in Sochi this year, we were able to compile a bit of data and calculate an estimate of which current winter Olympic sports seem to be fan favorites.

According to a TV viewership report by Nielsen, at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games freestyle skiing was the most-watched event. According to the same report, that year hockey was the Winter Olympic sport most talked about online. Two completely different events, but both were equally buzz-worthy, it just depended on who you asked.

In another attempt to quantify which Olympic snow sports were most beloved and talked about in 2010, Bing compiled their own "most popular" list based on search engine traffic. Snowboarding came out on top, followed by hockey, skeleton, and figure skating. Sports Illustrated assembled their own list too, which also ranks snowboarding as number one, followed by the four-man bobsled and women's figure skating.

After compiling data from expert lists, TV ratings, Internet data, and recent media buzz surrounding the Olympics in Sochi we put together our own list of the 10 most popular Winter Olympic sports. From speeding down snowy slopes to executing the perfect axle over ice each is exciting in its own right, but according to fans of the Games, some may be just a little more exhilarating than others.