It’s nearly the freaking Olympics and that means only one thing: hours sat in front of the television at ungodly hours watching sports I otherwise have no interest in. I do it every two years, for both the Summer and Winter Olympics. The last time they were hosted in London, I had just moved in with Wes and had two glorious weeks off before starting my new job. It was spent watching the BBC rather than unpacking. I even made Wes purchase a TV licence so I could watch it all live legally.
Fast forward four years and a lot has changed in that time, but not my love of the Olympic Games and all of the obscure sports it showcases. Here are the top five Olympic sports that nobody cares about at any other time except when the Olympics’ Opening Ceremony kicks off.
I love archery. If I were to ever take up a sport it would be this and Wes is quite the expert, having had a crash course in it a couple of years ago (and putting the trainers to shame at a booth in Warwick Castle once). That said, I wouldn’t watch it normally because there’s not a great deal to watch. That doesn’t matter when the Olympics is on, because I will sit and watch it for hours. I will ridicule the poor bugger who hits a measly 6 points on that board. Likewise, I will cheer a perfect 10 as long as the archer looks like a nice chap. Don’t be shocked if Katniss Everdeen has meant that the archers of this Olympics, particularly the female ones, will be somewhat younger and sprightlier than previous games.
Look out for: The commentary. It is everything that you would expect from people commentating on other people trying to stay as still as possible.
We all knew that one kid at school who was mad on horses. Never owned on, but the horse was their spirit animal. Those who grew up and bought a horse generally end up here or in the dressage. I don’t understand how dressage works (that will not stop me watching it however) so show jumping gets my shout here. It’s easy to understand and easy watching. Basically if a horse knocks over some of the apparatus, it’s a bad thing. If the horse does one in the wrong direction, it’s a bad thing. Fast and flawless, is awesome. I would never watch it at any other time, but if it’s a call between show jumping and beach volleyball, this will win every time.
Look out for: Your own increasingly sharp intakes of breath or “ooooh” sounds when you hear the clatter of a fence falling down. You’ll do it, trust me.
I’m a big fan of World’s Strongest Man. I’ll watch that whenever I find it lurking in the depths of Channel 5. It’s not at the Olympics though, so the closest I can get is weightlifting. Again, there’s not much to understand. If they lift it they win, if they don’t then they lose. Simple works for me and it doesn’t get simpler than that. This is one of the sports where you get people competing from countries you’ve only heard of by watching Pointless (Tuvalu, anyone?) Again, commentary is golden.
Look out for: The absolutely ridiculous differences in the shape and size of the athletes competing. It’s properly crazy.
This was almost a three way tie with diving and gymnastics. It won out because, in my view, it is the least popular outside of the Olympics. Real characters like Tom Daley, Louis Smith and Claudia Fragapane doing so well in previous events has meant that diving and gymnastics has started getting a lot more interest here in Britain. Rowing doesn’t have that same sort of celebrity status (Steve Redgrave doesn’t count). It makes it on my list however because Britain goes rowing nuts when the Olympics is on. I think because we know we aren’t going to totally show ourselves up in it. We are a nation that is historically amazing at rowing, and we’re continuing the tradition and, like always, we’ll be waving the GB flags again this time around.
Look out for: A few teary interviews as the Brits inevitably win some medals!
Peter Wilson. You probably don’t remember who he is, but he won gold at the Olympics in London in the shooting. Completely randomly. He had no fanfare, most people can’t remember him but he was wonderful. He was so quirky, a genuine nice guy who had just stunned everyone by bagging himself a gold medal and a matching postbox. The shooting is really fascinating because it’s all just down to nerve. You can’t really tell what’s about to happen. One or two misses is the difference between gold and bronze. You’ll almost definitely fancy having a bash yourself once it’s finished.
Look out for: Feeling genuinely gutted when the person who was in first for the whole round suddenly crashes out at the last second and tries to fight back the tears when congratulating everyone else.
So there you go. Your Olympics schedule now just got a bit fuller with these five total hidden gems of sports that you will grow to love over the next two and a bit weeks, only to forget about them the moment the closing ceremony starts.
What’s your favourite sport to get into when the Olympics starts? Any good ones I’ve missed here that I should really check out at Rio? Let me know in the comments so I can make sure to catch up on it! Remember, if you want to keep up to date with everything over at Mum’s The Law, the easiest way is to like our Facebook Page. We’d love to see you over there!