The Hidden Gems of The Olympics

Like a great many people over the past two weeks, I’ve been spending a remarkable amount of time watching the Olympics. This, of course, means that I’ve seen more than enough of American swimmers going back and forth in the olympic pool, and plenty of the games’ more popular sports like track and field or beach volleyball. However, sometimes the most entertaining sports to see in Rio aren’t the ones on NBC’s Prime Time. So instead of watching the fourth night of volleyball in a row, you might want to check out these less-popular but phenomenally entertaining Olympic sports wherever you can find them online.

1. Handball: This sport has just about everything one would want in a sport that they’re watching for the first time. It’s simple to understand, as it’s just another variation on the classic “put the ball in the goal” family of sports. It’s fast-paced, with scores frequently reaching twenty or higher for each team. And it’s exciting, with players running back and forth, leaping through the air and throwing balls as fast as they can in wild attempts to score. All in all, handball may well be the most entertaining of all hidden Olympic gems. 

2. Fencing: While slightly more difficult to understand than handball due to some confusion about where athletes are allowed to hit each other, it’s got entertainment value in spades. It’s quick moving with swords flashing back and forth lightning fast, action packed with mere seconds lapsing between bouts of furious action, and easy to watch in bite-size chunks of time. Besides, there’s something undeniably appealing about watching adults trying to hit each other with swords.

3. Wrestling: This sport, like most fighting sports, is made of intense action crammed into bouts of a few minutes with very short break times, which inherently makes for exciting watching. Even the moments with less movement, when wrestlers are tying up or struggling for an advantage, are fraught with tension. Takedowns are also dizzyingly intricate, a mix of gymnastics and weightlifting. It also has the added benefit of being a sport still in progress, so that anyone interested can watch it live.

4. Water Polo: Another sport with the simple “ball in the goal” structure, Water Polo is great fun to watch. Not only does the addition of underwater cameras in Rio give spectators a new insight into the brutal and exciting world beneath the water in Water Polo, but the quick ball movements, frequent goals,  make the sport plenty exciting above the water as well. And as an added benefit, the US women are the best women’s Water Polo team in the world, and it’s always more fun to watch your team win.

Enjoy watching these while you can, and let me know any hidden gems you’ve loved to watch in the comments!

With excitement and optimism,

Alex