Breaking News Bar
updated: 8/4/2012 9:06 AM

Enough with swimming, gymnastics: Catch these off-beat Olympic events

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • North Korea's Rim Jong Sim competes during the women's 69-kg, group A, weightlifting competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics on Aug. 1. Check out heavyweight women's weightlifting Sunday, while most people are watching Jamaica's Usain Bolt in the men's 100-meter final.

      North Korea's Rim Jong Sim competes during the women's 69-kg, group A, weightlifting competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics on Aug. 1. Check out heavyweight women's weightlifting Sunday, while most people are watching Jamaica's Usain Bolt in the men's 100-meter final.
    Associated Press

  • China's Li Xiaoxia takes a shot in a women's gold medal table tennis match against China's Ding Ning at the 2012 Summer Olympics on Aug. 1. Women's team table tennis wraps up Tuesday, and the Chinese are heavily favored.

      China's Li Xiaoxia takes a shot in a women's gold medal table tennis match against China's Ding Ning at the 2012 Summer Olympics on Aug. 1. Women's team table tennis wraps up Tuesday, and the Chinese are heavily favored.
    Associated Press

  • Australia's Christopher Burton and his horse HP Leilani, clear a jump in the equestrian individual show jumping at the 2012 Summer Olympics on July 31. You can see the finals of equestrian's individual jumping event Wednesday, while everyone else is watching women's beach volleyball.

      Australia's Christopher Burton and his horse HP Leilani, clear a jump in the equestrian individual show jumping at the 2012 Summer Olympics on July 31. You can see the finals of equestrian's individual jumping event Wednesday, while everyone else is watching women's beach volleyball.
    Associated Press

 
By Justin Peters, Slate

Enough with all the swimming and gymnastics. There are 26 sports with 36 disciplines and more than 300 events in the 2012 Summer Olympics so there's a lot more going on than the key events you can see during prime time.

Here are some less-famous, but interesting, events you might want to watch:

Order Reprint Print Article
 
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.
Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Success - request sent close

Let our handy Olympics viewers' guide do all that hard decision-work for you! From Michael Phelps to Usain Bolt, judo to modern pentathlon, we've got it all covered.

Saturday, Aug. 4:

Everyone will be watching: This is the last day of swimming before the open water events get under way -- aka, the kind of swimming in which duck avoidance is crucial to victory. Get your fill of the indoor pool by watching the men's 4-by-100-meter medley relay, featuring Michael Phelps and Matt Grevers. I went to high school with Matt Grevers' older brother. But then again, who didn't go to high school with Matt Grevers' older brother?

You should watch: If you're the sort of person who gets annoyed by those old ladies in track suits who power-walk through shopping malls, then skip this next item. If you are an old lady in a track suit who likes to power-walk through shopping malls, have I got the sport for you! Race walking, in which athletes travel long distances at reasonable speeds, kicks off Saturday with the men's 20 kilometer event. You won't want to leave your seat, so be sure to have an ample supply of hard candy at the ready.

Sunday, Aug. 5:

Everyone will be watching: Assuming he keeps up his fine Wimbledon form, Roger Federer will take the court in the men's singles tennis finals Sunday. Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic are also likely candidates to make the gold-medal match, but I'm putting my money on Fabio Fognini, the Italian tennis player whose hobby is "using the Internet." That's my hobby too! Jamaica's Usain Bolt will also try to hold off countryman Yohan Blake in the men's 100-meter final. Bolt has explained away his recent poor showings by saying that a bad back has slowed him down. I have a bad back too!

You should watch: The heavyweight female weightlifters faceoff is Sunday, and America's best hope is Holley Mangold, the effervescent, 340-pound sister of New York Jets offensive lineman Nick Mangold. Is there a bit of a sibling rivalry between the Mangolds? On NBC's Olympics website, Holley tells a story about how, when they were children, Nick once "chased me around the entire house and then finally got me in the backyard and tackled me, shoved my face in the grass and made me eat grass." Here's hoping she takes the gold medal so that she can hit her brother over the head with it.

Monday, Aug. 6:

Everyone will be watching: Indoor track cycling is very popular in Great Britain, thanks primarily to the efforts of superstar Scottish cyclist Sir Chris "The Real McHoy" Hoy, who is perhaps the only active Olympian to have a velodrome named after him. Hoy is the favorite in the men's sprint event. He'll be paced by the dangerous Australian cyclist Shane "Can't Eat Too Many Gherkins" Perkins.

You should watch: Fun fact: In 1958, pole vaulter Bob Richards was the first athlete to make the front of a Wheaties box. The competitors in Monday's women's pole vault finals have much lower profiles, but you're hoping they give Holly Bleasdale a couple of boxes of Raisin Bran as a consolation prize.

Tuesday, August 7:

Everyone will be watching: Hurdler Lolo Jones has captured America's heart with her enviable stomach muscles, her accomplishments in the field of virginity and her inspiring back story. Poor and homeless as a child, she nearly won gold in the 2008 Games before tripping over the penultimate hurdle. Now she's overcome spinal surgery to make it back to the Olympics. Jones is not the only hurdler with a sob story, though: Australian Sally Pearson had a stress fracture in her foot 10 years ago.

You should watch: Women's team table tennis wraps up this morning, and, believe me, if you've ever played ping-pong, it'll be worth getting up early to see for yourself just how bad you really are. The Chinese, as always, are the favorites here. Why are the Chinese so good at table tennis? I don't know, but it's probably safe to blame Susan Sarandon.

Wednesday, Aug. 8:

Everyone will be watching: Gold medals will be awarded in women's beach volleyball Wednesday. While Americans Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh will likely repeat their Beijing victory, Mauritian volleyballer Nioun Chin Elodie Li Yuk Lo is a strong contender to have the longest name you've ever seen.

You should watch: Horses! More specifically, horses jumping over things in the finals of equestrian's individual jumping event. Ann Romney's horse Rafalca will be competing in the Olympics' dressage competition rather than jumping, but don't worry -- plenty of other horses owned by rich ladies will be getting some mild exercise before repairing to their stables to eat carefully balanced meals that cost more to prepare than anything you've eaten in a month, you pathetic poor person, you.

Thursday, Aug. 9:

Everyone will be watching: Women's soccer concludes Thursday, with Hope Solo and the U.S. team hoping to repeat their 2004 and 2008 gold medal performances. They'll be challenged by the Brazilian squad, which is filled with players who have only one name. Are you paying attention, Nioun Chin Elodie Li Yuk Lo?

You should watch: Taekwondo was the last "demonstration sport" to make it to full-fledged competition status before the Summer Olympics stopped having demonstration sports back in the 1990s. As you watch taekwondo Thursday, feel free to shake your head whenever it gets boring and mumble about how we could be watching Olympic roller hockey right now.

Friday, August 10:

Everyone will be watching: The finals of the men's 4-by-400-meter relay take place on the track Friday. This event, which begins with the prelims on Thursday, features double amputee Oscar Pistorius. Known as the "Blade Runner," Pistorius is a double amputee who wears curved carbon fiber blades where his fibulae ought to be. There had been talk of banning Pistorius from Olympic competition because officials fear that his prostheses give him a mechanical advantage. Plus, the IOC harbors an irrational hatred for anything having to do with Philip K. Dick.

You should watch: If you're familiar with BMX biking at all, it's probably because you're sick and tired of watching all those teenage hoodlums ride their little bikes around the 7-Eleven parking lot all damn night. Well, back off, old man. Yes, American contender Nic Long has a bunch of tattoos, but consider that he got his first one at 18 in honor of his grandmother. "I definitely have plenty more ideas for future tattoos," Long told USA Today. Stay tuned for 2016 to see if his entire back is covered with grandparents!

Saturday, August 11:

Everyone will be watching: After winning the women's 800 meters at the 2009 world championships, South African woman Caster Semenya was forced to submit to gender testing. After a series of tests that proved her femininity, Semenya glued together her shattered dignity and made it to the Olympics. Assuming she makes it through the prelims, she'll go Saturday in the 800-meter finals -- wearing a bright pink outfit and humming "I Enjoy Being a Girl," just to be on the safe side.

You should watch: Tonight marks the running-fencing-riding extravaganza known as modern pentathlon. As a frustrated comp lit grad student, you should definitely take the opportunity to make several quips about the events that might be included in the postmodern pentathlon: "It'd have shooting ... down nonstructuralist interpretations of literature, that is! And running ... away from art that fails to juxtapose high and low culture, that is!"

Sunday, August 12:

Everyone will be watching: The men's gold medal basketball game helps close the games Sunday. While everyone's expecting the Americans to win gold, don't be surprised if, at the very last minute, LeBron James shocks the world by announcing that he has decided to take his talents to Tunisia.

You should watch: You've watched enough sports these past two weeks. Sit back and enjoy the Spice Girls, who are reuniting for the closing ceremony and will probably sing several of their hits, like that song about girl power, and that other song about girl power.

Share this page
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.