5 Olympic Sports You Didn’t Know Existed

While swimming, jumping and gymnastics are ultra-competitive and more than just a little impressive to watch the Olympics have incorporated some questionable additions to the games throughout time. Over the years events have come and gone, some have stuck around and still others have puzzled viewers, we’d like to bring you a list of the latter.

Dressage
1912-Current

Dressage is the high-society ‘sport’ of horse-dancing easily running owners 6 figures to master. There are multiple horse events in today’s Olympic games which inevitably begs the question ‘why?’ The answer is unclear as to why some sports are still around but the reasoning for the events origins is pretty sound; war. Many events came into being as a show of military prowess and their continued practice is basically just tradition. Despite the lack of athletics and discontinued need for maneuverability on a horse there’s no real reason for this not to be an Olympic event…dressage today is all about horse-rhythm!

Solo Synchronized Swimming
1984-1992

We often like to joke but this was actually a thing. Reportedly this sport was discontinued because athletes ability to stay synchronized with themselves was so impeccable that the awards committee ran out of gold medals. Actually water dancers were tasked with keeping time and flailing to music. After the solo event’s removal from the games synchronized swimming became a team sport and is an event which is garnering attention even now.

Badminton
1992-Current

This is another medal event that doesn’t scream athleticism, perhaps because it conjures memories of yelling ‘shuttle cock’ in the gymnasium while the chubby kid bested the class in something that didn’t involve running. But this backyard/camp-game is actually fairly impressive to watch at a professional level. Why this was added we’re not sure, perhaps there was a demand for more tennis and ping-pong and this was the compromise, but with this year’s badminton scandal at the 2012 London Olympics there’s no telling what we can expect next year.

Tug-of-War
1900-1920.

Another schoolyard favorite, the Tug-of-War was an original¬† sport (500 B.C.) which returned in varying forms for 5 consecutive games. While team numbers fluctuated during the tug-o’-war reboot generally teams of 8 battled for 5 minutes at a time, in the event of a tie the team who had gained the most ground was declared the winner, we can’t imagine this was much fun to watch.

Modern Pentathlon
1912-Current

Created to showcase the talents of the perfect soldier Fencing, Shooting, Swimming, Running, and Horseback Riding culminate in this big, messy, 100 year-old event. Although most events award the best, the pentathlon is a competition for the most versatile. So if you’re an extreme multitasker who can half-ass just about anything you might just have a shot at a medal.

There are a ton of other sports we didn’t include in the list like all-around dumbbell and croquet but it goes to show that if you’re good enough to justify your hobby you may just be able to talk the world into calling anything an athletic event.

– Rude Magazine – @JordanRUDEmag

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