Since their revival in the late 19th century, the quadrennial Summer Olympic Games have put some of the strongest, fittest, most dedicated athletes from around the globe on the world’s biggest stage. Millions and millions of pairs of eyes watch in breathless awe as sprinters charge their way through new records, strongmen and women lift impossible loads, and Michal Phelps wins basically every event – even the javelin toss, somehow. We are also reminded every four years that there are a few sports out there that are just plain ol’ dumb.
Did you know that walking is an Olympic sport? If not, well done: You went for that beer at the right time. In fact, there are four walking events, if you count both genders. Both men and women have a 20 km and 50 km speed walking event. We feel so sorry for how these people look hustling along, making sure both feet touch the ground between each step, that we almost couldn’t poke fun at them for poking along. Almost.
Handball, if we have anything to say about it, you’re next. In one of the strangest sports you never, ever hear about unless the Summer Olympics are under way – or unless you’re one of the 17 people worldwide who play this “sport” – grown men and women run around a court throwing a little ball at a net. It is much like basketball, except for the dribbling part, and with a goalie standing in front of a huge net instead of a small, elevated basket.
3 Table Tennis
Ping pong is lots of fun, enjoyed everywhere from the frat house to the family rumpus room to the local bar. But should it really be an Olympic sport? You can call it table tennis, but you still have to admit that it’s just people whacking a little ball back and forth with little mallets, even if many of the Chinese competitors make doing so look absolutely awesome. Granted, Olympian table tennis players take the game to the proverbial next level, but it still looks more like a game than a sporting event.
The equestrian “sport” of dressage could more accurately be known as “foppish prigs torturing their horses,” except that it would be even less popular than it already is. The fact that this display of equine prancing gets to stay in the Summer Olympic Games when wrestling, the OG of sports, is threatened with removal is a travesty. The fact that an activity where the horses do all the real work, earning their riders the same medals as those awarded swimming champions, is travesty number two.
1 Synchronized Swimming is Utterly Ridiculous
We’re not saying that synchronized swimming doesn’t take a hell of a lot of practice and raw natural ability, or that it doesn’t require stamina and strength and all of that. We are saying, in no uncertain terms, that synchronized swimming is utterly ridiculous. If for some of the freeze-frame expressions you get out of that “sport” alone, it is a bizarre spectacle. But considering that people who learn to do elaborate water dance routines are awarded the same medals as those who run marathons, it’s a pretty strange endeavor.