16 crazy Olympic sports that actually exist
The Olympics are full of some of the most iconic sporting events of all time. But what about the little-known sports that could use some much-needed love? These 16 sports aren't so famous but they are, in fact, Olympic events.
Race walking, also know as speed walking, debuted at the 1908 Games. Today, race walking seems to be at it most competitive, with every Olympic record being broken at the 2012 London Olympics.
Although it looks like fun, trampolining could very well be the most dangerous Olympic sport. Trampolinists perform at least 10 different acrobatic maneuvers, with five judges scoring their efforts. Since the sport's Olympic debut in 2000, Canada has been the most successful trampolining country with six medals.
Not counting a 12-year hiatus, dressage has been a mainstay in the Summer Olympics since 1900. Today, horses are specifically bred for this high-stepping sport. And horses' dance-like movements--including the piaffe and passage--are much more extravagant than they were in in 1912.
Call it the triathlon of horse and rider. Eventing has been a part of the Olympics since 1912. The competitors are judged across three disciplines: dressage, cross country and show jumping.
Some might know rhythmic gymnastics for its ribbon dancing, but it's so much more than that. Gymnasts are can use ribbons, balls, and, perhaps most interestingly, a hoop. The event has been part of the Olympics since 1984.
If you thought shooting at the Olympics was an eccentric event, wait 'til you see shooting with an air rifle or pistol. The sport has been a part of the Olympic program since 1998.
Steeplechase--which debuted at the 1900 summer Olympics--is the longest track-and-field race involving obstacles. The main obstacle of the 3,000-meter race contains a small body of water in the middle of the track. The women's steeplechase was introduced in 2008.
This isn't your typical handball. This Olympic sport is a complex combination of basketball and soccer, where two teams, with seven players each, compete to throw a ball through a soccer-style net. Handball was first introduced into the 1936 Summer Olympics.
Introduced in 1998, table tennis is an Olympic event that features a singles and doubles tournament. Since '98, China's table tennis team has completely dominated, with 24 out of 28 gold medals won.
Debuting in 1984, synchronized swimming is a hybrid sport that combines swimming, dance and gymnastics. Go ahead, make light of the sport ... but then you try an elaborate routine, in unison ... and underwater.
The sport of badminton has been around since the 19th century, but it has only been recognized as an Olympic event since 1992. Winning a gold medal in badminton is considered the most coveted prize in the sport.
Don't get this sport confused with rowing. Twelve years after starting as a demonstration sport, canoe slalom made its Olympics premiere in 1936. Think extreme canoeing, with athletes having to avoid obstacles and navigate rapids.
Another canoeing event has plenty more action ...
From slalom to sprinting, canoeing is a big part of the Summer Olympics. Instead of just four events, canoe sprinting currently consists of 13 different kinds of competition. Since the first Olympic canoeing events in 1936, Hungary has won the most medals, with 77.
Athletes who take part in the modern pentathlon are some of the most well-rounded competitors in the Olympics. The event is made up of five events that have nothing to do with each other. And nothing says "modern" like fencing, show jumping, pistol shooting, swimming and running.
It's true: BMX racing is a real-life Olympic sport. BMX riding is judged solely on time, instead of freestyle tricks or dirt jumping. The event has been part of the Summer Olympics program since 2008.
At first glance, one might think that capturing the power of wind wouldn't qualify as an Olympic event. And one would be wrong. Sailing has been an Olympic event at every Summer Games except 1904.