10 “Olympic” Sports You Can Play in Your Living Room
Coming to a living room near you...
It all started at the 1988 Summer Olympic Games at Seoul—by then, the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) had persuaded the International Olympic Committee to include the commonplace game of ping pong as a bona fide Olympic sport.
With table tennis as trailblazer No. 1, it is high time here in 2012 that the Olympic Games welcome in more living room events as full-fledged, medal-bearing athletic contests.
Let the Games begin with the following 10 "Olympic" sports you can play in your living room.
Yana Paskova/Getty Images
"Olympic" Sport: Speed Eating or Competitive Eating
Compare to: Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest
It is high time America introduced competitive eating to the Olympic Games. Though the concept has several variants, the core objective is always the same—eat more items than your opponent.
Whoever eats the most is declared the winner. Some organizations deduct for gagging or vomiting while others do not.
You may think this is the perfect sport for a couch potato, but you may be surprised by how in-shape and flexible a stomach and esophagus must be to perform such a feat.
Pass the mustard.
James Knowler/Getty Images
"Olympic" Sport: Wii Sports: Wii Baseball, Wii Bowling, Wii Boxing, Wii Golf & Wii Tennis
Compare to: Baseball (Discontinued), Bowling (Discontinued), Boxing, Golf (Returning in 2016), Tennis
Now that we have 21st-century technology, it is high time for the Olympic Games to adopt virtual sports of the Wii variety.
Wii Sports was developed and is published by Nintendo, simulating five sports and allowing players to use a revolutionary game-control device—a Wii Remote—to mimic the actions of hitting a baseball, bowling a strike, punching an opponent, putting a golf ball and swinging a tennis racket, all without having to leave the confines of one's own living room.
A significantly cheaper alternative to constructing a tennis court and with less time commitment and endurance training than it takes a boxer to learn to withstand a heavy blow, Wii Sports is a wonderful "Olympic" sport—it truly is the next best thing to playing the actual game.
And you won't have to try and find missing golf balls after slicing your drive into the drink.
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images
"Olympic" Sport: Moundball
Compare to: Baseball (Discontinued), Curling, Archery or Shooting
Finally, a sport that MLB umpires can truly excel at.
Moundball is an individual sport, similar to Gymnastics or Diving. Starting at home plate—or any arbitrary spot—a baller attempts to throw a regulation baseball onto a pitcher's mound—or any arbitrary mound of dirt—60-some-odd feet away.
The trick is getting the ball to defy gravity and stick on the top of the mound, near the pitching rubber as the ball will almost certainly try and roll back towards the bottom of the hill (on a soft toss) or over the entire knoll (on a strong throw).
The competitor who is able to throw his or her baseball closest to the mound's pitching rubber is declared the winner.
For betting rules, consult the Moundball website.
Alcohol Tennis (Beer Pong)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
"Olympic" Sport: Alcohol Tennis or Beer Pong
Compare to: Table Tennis (or Ping Pong)
Before table tennis made its 1988 debut, it was—and still informally is—known as ping pong.
The equipment is surprisingly similar to that used in table tennis—a standard ping pong ball, a tabletop that most often is the same slab used in table tennis and, originally, standard table tennis paddles.
Though rules may vary from living room to living room, the concept is fairly simple. Players attempt to bounce or hurl via arc or fastball a ping pong ball from one end of the table into a cup on the opposite end, with the overall objective being to successfully navigate one's own ping pong balls into all of one's target cups before the opponent can clear his or her side.
Consult The National Beer Pong League (NBPL) for official rules.
"Olympic" Sport: Indoor Golf
Compare to: Golf (Returning in 2016)
Found in the occasional CEO's office and at sporting goods stores everywhere, indoor golf features a series of miniature putting greens and even custom-built fairways or courses.
Think of this sport as a cross between mini-golf and straightforward putting. Like the more familiar version of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson's professional golf, the fewest strokes to the hole wins!
To find your custom course, visit Pro Putt Systems or Perfect Speed Greens.
Harry How/Getty Images
"Olympic" Sport: Horseshoes
Compare to: Equestrian, Curling, Bowling (Discontinued)
The Olympic Games already have the equestrian competition, but what happens after the horses are done competing for the summer? Surely their shoes aren't packed away and retired?
With the simple game pieces consisting of the aforementioned horseshoes and a stake in the center of a dirt pit, horseshoes traces its roots back thousands of years.
To play, one pitcher generally attempts to throw ringers—wherein a horseshoe comes to rest wrapped around the stake—or tosses wherein the horseshoe lands nearest to the stake or at least closer to the stake than an opponent's horseshoe.
Theoretically, the IOC could even fit horseshoes into the long- or triple-jump pit prior to the track & field competition.
For official playing rules, consult the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association.
Scott Halleran/Getty Images
"Olympic" Sport: Speed Texting
Compare to: Speed Skating, Racewalking
On the 15th anniversary of text messaging in 2007, the 160-characters-or-less service was described as "a cultural phenomenon."
It is high time that the cultural phenomenon of speed texting be introduced as an "Olympic" sport, designed to recognize the fastest trigger thumbs in all the world.
In a format similar to Olympic diving, texters choose their own 160-character messages to type and send as quickly as possible on a standard mobile phone—phones with physical keyboards, such as pre-BlackBerry 10 smartphones, are illegal, as are all text-to-speech or predictive text features. Sorry, Siri.
Similar to Gymnastics and Diving scoring, judges officiate texters on their technique, accuracy, the difficulty level of their message and of course, speed.
A busy network signals an automatic one-point deduction while sending a text to the wrong phone number results in disqualification.
Table Football (Table Soccer or Foosball)
Bart Young/Getty Images
"Olympic" Sport: Table Football, Table Soccer or Foosball
Compare to: Table Tennis, Football (Soccer)
Thanks once again to table tennis—and to rugby for crashing the 2016 Olympic Games—the hybrid sport that combines the goal-scoring excitement of soccer and the miniaturized convenience of table tennis is an "Olympic" sport seriously worth considering for your living room Games.
Generally boasting eight rows, four of which are controlled by either player, the object of this sport is to score more points than one's opponent, as in soccer, using only the wooden or plastic player figurines that are manipulated by a bar which the player rotates throughout the contest.
Variants of the standard solo Foosball matches include doubles and even the slightly less popular eleven vs. eleven variety.
For more information, consult the official International Table Soccer Federation rule book.
"Olympic" Sport: H-O-R-S-E
Compare to: Basketball
Okay, you might have to leave your living room and go outside for this one.
H-O-R-S-E requires a basketball and a net or basket of some sort. Most commonly played in backyards and after high school basketball practice, H-O-R-S-E made a rare appearance on the national stage in 2009, when the NBA threw out a two-season experiment titled, "NBA All-Star Weekend H-O-R-S-E Competition."
After Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant won both years, the Association quickly scrapped the contest.
The concept of the sport is surprisingly simple: Players take turns attempting trick shots from odd locations near or—more commonly—away from a basket. If a given player makes his difficult shot, his opponent is forced to mimic the shot.
If the opponent's mimic is successful, subsequent challengers must attempt identical scores until the opponents list is exhausted or an opponent fails to convert his attempt. Failure to convert a mimic results in a letter added onto an opponent's score in the form of H-O-R-S-E. Any player spelling the full word is eliminated.
Tiebreakers, should they occur, shall be conducted in P-I-G format.
Speed, Figure or Marathon Vacuuming
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
"Olympic" Sport: Speed, Figure or Marathon Vacuuming
Compare to: Sprints, Figure Skating, Marathon
After the Olympic day is done and it is time to clean up, why not turn to the traditional final sport of the day?
Welcome to the wide world of vacuuming with its three variants: speed, figure and marathon.
In speed vacuuming, competitors race to see who can suck up the most filth and crumbs in the shortest time. Not only are participants judged by time, deductions are issued for each speck of dust left untouched.
In figure vacuuming, participants create artistic designs atop carpets, floors and couches, strategically selecting what spots on the floor or seat to vacuum and which to leave alone. Bonus: Dump the bag in just the right spot to create an outrageous 3D design for extra points.
Finally, marathon vacuuming involves getting up and going from room to room until the entire house has been cleaned. For this competition, a long extension cord is recommended, though participants must take care not to suck up the cord. First one to clear the final attic stage wins.