5 Obscure Sports Worth Watching at the 2016 Summer Olympics
Not only does the International Olympic Committee (IOC) choose the host city, the organization also is responsible for determining which sports are recognized and eligible to be part of games themselves. As the Olympics have developed through their lengthy history, so have the sports that have come and gone, and sometimes returned. For the upcoming Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, there are 42 Olympic sport disciplines on the schedule for a total of 306 events. While some events may be considered too obscure for the average viewer to enjoy, these five could offer the most entertainment value among the non-traditional ones. In the end, a gold medal is a gold medal whether it’s won by Michael Phelps or Usain Bolt or Chinese trampoline gymnast Dong Dong, who did that just four years ago in London.
BMX racing will make its third appearance during the 2016 Summer Games in Rio De Janeiro. Only one man has won a gold medal in the BMX event, Latvia’s Māris Štrombergs. BMX racing is incredibly exciting, and with the race only taking about 40 seconds you will be on the edge of your seat from start to finish.
Don’t let the name fool you, this event looks nothing like the trampoline you used to bounce around on in your backyard. These acrobatic athletes get serious air and pull off outrageous stunts. Fair warning to parents: don’t let your kids get any crazy ideas.
One of the most underrated Olympic events; handball features some of the best athletes in the world. The combination of coordination and athleticism creates a high-octane sport that can best be described as a mix of soccer and basketball.
4. Canoe/Kayak Slalom
The Canoe Slalom may be the most intense sport in the Summer Olympics. A man-made whitewater rafting ring makes for a daunting course for the competitors. Contestants have to fight the current to navigate their way through the course, while water splashes in their face and the clock ticks away.
5. Race Walking
The other sports on this list are worth watching because they are highly entertaining and can leave viewers in awe of the athletic accomplishments. Race Walking, on the other hand, is worth watching for a very different reason: the absurdity of the event is unmatched. Contestants walk as fast as humanly possible without lifting both feet off of the ground simultaneously, which makes for a hilarious spectacle.