The Weirdest Olympic Sports

The International Olympic Games: a chance for the greatest athletes from each country to put there skills on display for the world to see, and to bring pride to their nations. But what is an athlete really? Are they defined by how fast they can swim, or how far they can run? Is it muscle, or endurance, or… bounciness?

You read that right, bouncing. It’s not just an admirable trait for kangaroos, it’s the basis of one very real Olympic sport: Trampoline. Yes, trampolining is on the Olympic roster, and honestly, we think that is seriously awesome.

The International Olympic Committee has both removed and added events to the games over the years, some that are a bit less “jock” than others, and some that are just borderline strange… I mean, OK, we can definitely see how competitive trampolining is a thing (it’s basically extra bouncy gymnastic floor routines), but it doesn’t end there.

For example, “Club Swinging”. There’s a whole set of rules, and I’m sure that I’m missing something “super athletic” about it, but long story short, it’s juggling bowling pins. The first thing that comes to mind when I think about this is a team of clowns competing against eachother, which is terrifying. Granted, it’s not in the Olympics anymore, but the fact that it was is honestly enough to make me lift an eyebrow. Get them together with the trampoliners and you basically have half of Cirque du Soliel! Speaking of crazy performances, solo synchronized swimming was a thing. That’s right, SOLO SYNCHRONIZED swimming – it’s a complete oxymoron, and I’m about to lose my mind over it (why not just call it ‘figure swimming’ or something???) but it was an actual Olympic event until pretty recently. It’s described as a sort of “water ballet”, which makes a ton of a lot more sense than its current title… Seriously though, put all these in one place and the viewership might just double.


In case the circus isn’t your thing, don’t worry, apparently the Olympic Committee has a category for junior-high school gym class as well! I can see how tug of war could get pretty intense if you have a whole team of super ripped people who do nothing but train for it, but that doesn’t keep my mind from going back to trying to pull a bandana over a line with a bunch of other 12-year olds during “outdoor gym” back in the day. Maybe it’s not a school-game themed sport, maybe the people on the committee just really like ropes? That would explain why Olypmic rope climbing used to be a part of the games. Are they looking for athletes, or having tryouts for Indiana Jones? I shouldn’t make too much fun though, because there’s no way I could get my feet off the ground for more than two seconds. I might have been the only person ever to get a C in gym class…

One interesting thing about the Olympics that I didn’t know until fairly recently is that differen’t groups and countries lobby for which will be featured in the following years’ games, and they are chosen ahead of time by category. While that’s all good and well, what I’m curious about is how they’re going to categorize chess and bridge? Yup, chess and bridge. Chess is no mystery to me (though why it’s on the 2020 Olympic roster is), but the only thing that I know about bridge is that it’s a game that my grandparents play with their friends twice a week. Don’t get me wrong, I love my grandparents, but I probably wouldn’t put them on international television for millions to watch. The argument behind putting both table-top games in the Olympics is that it is an opportunity for older competitors, as well as a test of discipline, timing, and forward thinking, all of which are main components in a number of more physical sports. This may be true, but considering there’s already a chess world championship, and that it is THE most boring thing to watch if you don’t know what’s going on (nobody needs to understand anything to appreciate a guy jumping over a crazy tall pole).

Personally, I’m just waiting to see Olympic “Pokemon Go”.