Olympic Sports You Didn’t Know Existed
Surely, your eyes have been glued to the constant Olympics coverage. We can’t get enough of London either. But give it a week, and you’ll probably be tired of swimming and gymnastics. Well, we don’t blame you — that’s why we’ve done some research on the Olympic sports you didn’t know existed. And we’ve got the info on when and where they’re happening so you don’t miss a minute of the action. See all the Olympic venues at a glance with our photo gallery.
If you’re lucky enough to be in London, like our deals & rewards blogger Mommy Points, then you’re probably looking for things to do for free. Well, look no further, because tickets are not required for areas of the Race Walk route. Get there early, since space will definitely fill up quickly. Find more tips for enjoying the Olympics on a budget here!
But wait, what is race walk? It’s just one event of the multi-faceted Athletics competition, where athletes must race while keeping contact with the ground — which means the racer’s back toe cannot leave the ground until the front heel has touched.
The race walk competitions will take place on August 4 and 11 at the Mall in St James’ Park, past Buckingham Palace and Constitution Hill in Green Park.
Making its debut this year, Women’s Boxing has been much anticipated. 36 women will be competing in 3 different weight categories: Fly Weight (108-112 lbs.), Light Weight (130-135 lbs.) and Middle Weight (154-160 lbs.). Women’s bouts are 4 rounds of 2 minutes each, compared to men’s bouts which consist of 3 rounds of 3 minutes each.
The women will be competing August 5, 6, 8 and 9 at ExCeL, the largest venue at the London Games in London’s Docklands.
Handball was developed in Denmark, Sweden and Germany in the late 19th century and first appeared at the Olympics in the Berlin 1936 Games. Played on the largest court of any indoor ball sport at the Olympics, the game is a combination of soccer and basketball — or at least, that’s our interpretation.
Handball competitions are occurring today through August 12, with preliminary rounds and the women’s quarterfinals at the Copper Box at Olympic Park and the men’s quarterfinals, all semi-finals and finals at the Basketball Arena at Olympic Park.
London has a tradition on the trampoline — the first ever Trampoline World Championships were held at the Royal Albert Hall in London in 1964. The Olympic sport made its debut in the 2000 Sydney Games, with athletes jumping to heights of over 30 feet.
But don’t worry — there are, in fact, rules to trampolining. The gymnasts perform a series of 10 skill routines, including single, double and triple somersaults with and without twists. Judges award points for difficulty, execution and time of flight, minus penalties.
16 men and 16 women will take to the trampoline August 3 and 4 in the North Greenwich Arena, located on the banks of the River Thames.
The action-packed Canoe Slalom is modeled on slalom skiing and was first staged in Switzerland in 1932 on flat water. But after switching to white-water rapids, the sport became a permanent part of the Olympic Games in Barcelona in 1992.
The competitors make timed runs through a white-water course with up to 25 gates, which cannot be touched or missed. There are events with single canoes, double canoes and kayaks, with the watercrafts being smaller and lighter than typical canoes and kayaks.
The competition runs today through August 2 in the Lee Valley White Water Centre in Hertfordshire on the edge of the 1,000-acre River Lee Country Park.
Synchronized Swimming made its Olympic debut at the Los Angeles 1984 Games and is one of 2 all-female events, with the other being Rhythmic Gymnastics. The sport developed out of the ornamental water ballets of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with the first competitions held in the 1930s.
So, how do they stay so synchronized? Underwater speakers. Duets or teams of 8 swimmers perform routines to music with judges awarding points for choreography, difficulty and execution.
The spectacle begins August 5 and continues through August 10 at the Aquatics Centre at Olympic Park, where Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte are currently battling it out.
Think you know everything about the Olympics? Test your knowledge with our Olympics quiz!