2012 Summer Olympics: 5 Lesser Known Events That Showcase Incredible Athleticism
Don't overlook specific Olympic events just because they're not too well known.
The 2012 Summer Olympics have world-class athletes all over and viewing a sport such as handball really displays a unique style of athleticism.
Combing a number of varying sports, handball competitors are just the first in a long line of great Olympians who put on an incredible show of overall talent. Here, we take a look at handball and other lesser-known events that provide just as much impressive skill as the more popular sports.
One of the most physically demanding sports around, water polo athletes must possess and excellent level of endurance, overall strength, and coordinated balance.
The athletes are treading in the water during the entire match, but have to also move around without touching the bottom or sides of the pool. If there's any Olympic event that can quickly drain an athlete's energy it's water polo.
The cognitive approach to constantly knowing how to use energy efficiently is key, because swimming to get open on offense and continually guard on defense will quickly burn energy. Needing to be excellent swimmers, these competitors also have to work well as a team in an environment where mobility is limited.
Swimming, biking, and/or running always sounds like a good time.
That said, triathletes take these three sports to a whole nother level when combining to make a triathlon. Stamina if anything, is the ultimate component required to sustain the rigors of a triathlon. Much like water polo, triathletes must use energy effectively and utilize every single bodily movement.
Having strength in one area is nice, but being weak at even one area will cost a triathlete greatly. Because the event is so lengthy, pacing oneself to control energy requires elite mental focus. Strategists are those who will see more success, as it's not just about starting and finishing.
The transition from swimming to biking and biking to running has to be smooth, and knowing when to hit full gear for a strong finish cannot happen too early.
There are two different events in the weightlifting portion of the Olympics, the snatch and clean-and-jerk.
In the video you see the snatch lift, which is done in one entire motion. The more kinetic energy obtained at the beginning allows for an easier lift, but having proper technique is arguably more important.
Considering how much weight the Olympians will attempt, anyone who has ever weight lifted knows the potential dangers if the proper technique is not executed. Along with quick inertia to make the lift, strong wrist and fingers are needed to maintain a strong grip of the bar throughout.
After all, no lift can happen if the bar isn't controlled.
Clean and Jerk
The other lift in the Olympics is the clean-and-jerk. Similar to the snatch, the clean-and-jerk is just broken down into two movements.
The clean part is snatched up to the lifters shoulders, and then the jerk part comes from squatting down to use the feet, back, and hips in helping propel the weight over the head.
Each require an athlete to use every bit of strength, power, and explosiveness to successfully complete the lift. The more impressive aspect is how much an Olympian will attempt/lift more than their body weight.
One of the most exciting events that is fast paced and combined a number of different events, handball can quickly grab anyone's attention.
Obviously the opposite of soccer, handball provides much more scoring and plays on a much smaller area. Still, the event displays athletes who possess great quickness, speed, jumping ability, and agility.
Also, although the area is bigger than a basketball court, it's still not significantly large for a team sport. Therefore, handball athletes play both ways and it's a lot more physical than given credit for.
With a lot scoring and some crazy athletic antics, handball has more than its fair-share of intensity.
Mountain biking may not offer flying movements on a ramp, or random stunts like a BMX athlete.
However, going through rougher terrains and a much longer course forces these cyclists to be extremely well-balanced and in total control. Mountain bikers don't have the luxury of a consistently smooth surface, so having no fear of maintaining speed, albeit the odds of crashing.
Stamina is obviously needed, and leg strength to sustain the tough terrain and keep pace displays impressive athleticism. Overall, the ability to remain balanced and fight through a rough score shows excellent coordination and control.
Follow John Rozum on Twitter.