The Olympics may have come and gone for another season, but with 2020 just around the corner, the hype is already beginning to build. Most of us are familiar with athletics, swimming, and gymnastics – the tame sports. So what about the weird sports in the Olympic games that often go overlooked?
As far as “athlons” go, you may figure that you have them down by now, right? A bit of running, jumping, and throwing – pretty simple goings really. Sadly, you may be in for a shock when it comes to the modern twist on the pentathlon. There are five events in this sport which include pistol shooting, show jumping, fencing, running, and freestyle swimming. The idea behind the competition was that any soldier from the 19th century would be able to perform all the aspects. Although, it looks more like someone pulling sports out of a hat and turning them into one big event.
Now, it may look like these people are just walking fast – which they kinda are – but there is more to it than that. Competitors must have one foot on the floor at all times, or they will be disqualified. It often means you see the athletes wiggling around as fast as they can without breaking into a jog. Although it may sound simple, race walking takes it out of you more than you think. To make it even more difficult, the races can be either 20 kilometers or 50 kilometers long. That’s A LOT of walking! The sport has been in the Olympics since 1904, and so far it’s set to stay.
Athletics can be fun, but sometimes the long distance runs can leave you feeling a bit dizzy as you watch someone go round and round… And round. So what could be more entertaining than putting jumps and water in the way of the competitors? After all, we need something to keep us entertained. This sounds like it might be better suited to another sport, such as horse riding. Well, once upon a time the competitors would have had an equine companion to complete the course! Instead, we are now left with people seeing who can get around it all in the quickest time.
Swimming can be a sport where you push yourself to the limit or take in the peace by effortlessly gliding through the water. Synchronized swimming is definitely anything other than relaxing. What looks like a bunch of people flailing around in the pool is actually a team of incredible well-synchronized dancers all performing their routine to music. Back when the sport first headed to the Olympics, it was called water ballet before getting the name upgrade. To make things even more intense, these swimmers will train for hours every week to improve their lung capacity as much of the work is done with their heads underwater!
There we have it, some of the most bizarre sports in the Olympics that still exist to this day. How did we never know they existed? We know what we will be watching when Japan 2020 rolls around. Perhaps if we get practicing, we could still make one of the teams?