Unusual Olympic Sports You Never Knew Existed

The Olympics. Celebrating the world’s most impressive feats of strength, focus, and determination through a series of competitions that test not only the body, but the mind as well. Winners (and losers for that matter) are decorated with the most prestigious sports trophy of all time and bragging rights in perpetuity.

Unusual Olympic Sports You Never Knew Existed

Among the world record-shattering swim competitions, and the heated race to find out which country produces the best and brightest athletes, there are a few unusual Olympic sports that might make you think, “Hey, maybe I could be an Olympian!”

Think again…

Racewalking or Sillyhips

No we don’t mean the kind of racewalking that involves various amounts of white hoods and racial slurs, but rather, some might argue, the funniest looking sport of all time (just barely edging dressage out of the competition).

Typically held on either roads or on running tracks, common distances vary from 3000 metres (1.8 mi) up to 100 kilometres (62.1 mi).

Trampolining or Big Bouncy

Trampolining was first introduced at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. The Canadians have dominated the competition ever since, but amid its nostalgia-inducing flips and spins what you see is actually quite dangerous.

Classified as a branch of gymnastics, the competitive form of the sport can include simple jumps in the pike, tuck or straddle position as well as more complex combinations of forward or backward somersaults and twists.

Outside of the Olympics trampolining also includes the events of synchronized trampoline, tumbling (or power tumbling) and double mini-trampoline.

Badminton or “It’s A Bird, No It’s A Flying Cock”

Yes you read that correctly. Olympic badminton. That game with the short net, the small rackets and the thing that looks like a bird? Yup. But this isn’t your grandmother’s badminton, although she may have been a badass herself.

No, badminton has been called the world’s second most popular sport, under soccer of course, and if you watch the Olympic teams compete, you will clearly see the crazy athleticism at play.

Imagine trying to swat a fly while at a full sprint in a torrential downpour… That’s Olympic badminton.

But don’t let my words convince you, take a look at these crazy speed stats (provided by the Canadian official Olympic page) that show that badminton really is the “world’s fastest sport.”

  • Badminton Shuttlecock – 306 mph
  • Golf Ball – 210 mph
  • Squash Ball – 174 mph
  • Hockey Puck – 113 mph

Dressage or Dancey Horse

Usually reserved for the wealthy elite, on account of the consistent expense of maintaining a champion level horse and the relationship with their rider, to the untrained eye dressage, a branch of the horse sport of Equestrian, might look like happy, bouncy, trotty, fun time.

But, Equestrian Canada describes dressage as “the highest expression of horse training” where “horse and rider are expected to perform from memory a series of predetermined movements.”

I’m not sold, but you might enjoy watching it.


Have you seen other unusual Olympic sports that didn’t make our list? Let us know. We love to hear from you guys. Comment below and share on Facebook!