Ahhhh, the Olympic Games. The one time of the year where it’s totally acceptable to sit in front of your TV and watch other people get sweaty and enjoy it (especially when we get to sit on our sofa the whole time and eat chocolate). Although the Olympic Games only come around every four years, we always look forward to watching the runners, the gymnastics, the hockey, the football and more. However, there are some sports in the Olympic Games that are a little more, well, unique (that’s a polite way of saying super weird).
I mean, if you need a good laugh – race walking is definitely the way to go. But we have to give these guys credit because this sport looks like it takes a lot out of you…it’s just also super awkward and amazingly funny. Race walking has been a part of the Olympic family since 1904, and it’s a fairly simple sport. The aim of the game is not to let your feet leave the ground. Of course, you can move them (it’s not like a game of ‘Stuck in the Mud’), but you must have one foot touching the ground at all times. It’s almost a cross between a slight jog and very fast walking and is split between 20km races and 50 km races. We’ll just say this; there’s a lot of wiggling.
There’s nothing we love more than a nice leisurely swim – which is the complete opposite to synchronized swimming. For those who don’t know the in’s and out’s of synchronized swimming, it may look a bit like a load of women (and some men) flailing about in the water, making some pretty epic faces, and dancing along to some completely unrelated music while wearing what looks like a hair clip on their noses. But of course, it’s so much more than that. The Olympic sport was initially called ‘water ballet’ when it was first established and prides itself on its mix of complicated swimming, dancing, and gymnastics moves. Swimmers train for hours each day to train their lungs so they can spend even more time underwater. Rather them than us.
You might be thinking, ‘oh yeah, that’s where they do running, jumping and throwing events, right?’ Sorry ladies and gents, but that’s the heptathlon. The Modern Pentathlon is verryyyyyy different. This weird Olympic sport is made up of five events; freestyle swimming, running, fencing, show jumping, and pistol shooting. Sure, we get them as their own separate events – but as one whole event? All of these sports require totally different skills, which makes for a very all-rounded individual. Actually, this was the idea in the first place. The modern pentathlon was created as the kind of event a 19th-Century soldier would be able to complete.
Sometimes we watch the Olympics and get a little bored of seeing someone run around the same track over and over again. Luckily, we have steeplechase to cure that boredom – because what could be more entertaining than jumping over hurdles and giant pools? The sport may sound like something a horse would take part in, and that’s because it was! The sport was established in Ireland as an equestrian sport, where the horses had to jump over fences, walls, and water in the quickest time. The sport has now been changed. The horses are gone and have been replaced. Steeplechase has been a part of the modern Olympic Games since 1896 – and is still going strong today.
Although we now have to wait three years until the next Olympic Games, we can get ourselves ready to watch these wonderfully wacky sports for Tokyo 2020!