We’ll all be tuning in for the athletics on Super Saturday, but we think there are other more surprising Olympic sports that deserve a bit more attention from us spectators. Although not necessarily surprising for the participants who spend weeks, months and years training for their one shot at a medal, these events might raise a few eyebrows with the average audience member. Keep an eye out for them in the Olympic schedules and you might find yourself a new sport to follow.
Ok, so Rugby isn’t exactly an unusual sport in itself, but its inclusion in the Olympics might be considered surprising by some. This version of the game is making its Olympic return in 2016, after the game was played as an event between 1900 to 1924. Rugby Sevens is pretty much exactly what it says it is – seven players on each team play two seven minute halves in a short, sharp game where they attempt to score as many tries and penalties as possible – the perfect spectator sport! And rugby enthusiasts can join the fun to a greater extent thanks to the latest England Rugby voucher codes that save them money on a wide range of rugby accessories and sportswear. You may already be familiar with Rugby Sevens from its appearances in the Commonwealth Games since 1988 and it is on the list of ‘core’ Commonwealth Games sports, ensuring it will always be played there. Let’s hope after 2016, it’s Olympic future will be just as secure.
Possibly the Olympic event which inspires the most scratching of heads, many might assume it’s an athletics event, but they’d be wrong. Or would they? The truth is the Modern Pentathlon straddles various different disciplines, making its participants the ultimate all-rounders. Despite its name, the Modern Pentathlon is one of the more traditional events and competitors take part in fencing, 200m freestyle swimming, show jumping, pistol shooting and a 3200m cross-country run over the course of one day (it was originally over four or five days, but this was changed in 1966 to make it more audience-friendly). Even though it is ‘core’ Olympic sport, its future hangs in the balance and is only guaranteed to be on the Olympic programme until 2020. Whether we’ll continued to be perplexed by this one remains to be seen…
A combination of strength and artistic flourishes, this is essentially the underwater version of team gymnastics although you might be surprised to find that it’s been an Olympic sport since 1984. The USA, Canada, Japan and Russia have dominated the sport in the past, and these days there are only duet and team events, although a solo event did take place previously. For those who are inspired to get in the pool by this great event, UK Swimwear promo codes can offer great savings on a wide choice of sports and beach swimwear, and synchronized swimming may be a women’s only event for now, but we think there’s no reason why men can’t do this one too at some point in the future…
Yes, it might sound like something that only takes place in the school playground, but handball made its Olympic debut in the 1936 Berlin games. Back then it was played outside, but since 1972 it has been an indoor event. It involves teams of seven players playing a game of two thirty minute halves where they have to pass the ball by hand (obviously) and get it in the other team’s goal. So far, so self-explanatory, but this wins as a spectator sport for the sheer amount of goals – it’s not uncommon for a team to score twenty each in a game.
This has become a must-watch since its inclusion in the 2008 Beijing Games, but it still somehow comes as something of a surprise to remember that its now an Olympic sport. No longer a cycling underdog, BMX cemented its popularity in London 2012 and is now set to be one of the most watched cycling events in Rio. The success of online savings tools such as SourceBMX discount vouchers shows that many have been inspired by the last couple of games, but there’s still something different about it that sets it apart from the other events, cycling or otherwise. Long may it continue its Olympic status!
If you’re going to be glued to the TV set over the course of the Olympic games, make sure you take some time out to explore one of these lesser-known and unusual sports. With many interactive and catch-up services now available, there’s no longer any excuse to miss out on that synchronized swimming set piece or gruelling handball decider!
By Anna Scott, 27th July 2016