London 2012: Fast-Paced Summer Olympic Events You Can't Miss

John RozumCorrespondent IJuly 2, 2012

ATHENS - AUGUST 27:  Marion Jones and Lauryn Williams of USA fumble the baton as they compete in the women's 4 x 100 metre relay on August 27, 2004 during the Athens 2004 Summer Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Athens, Greece. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Michael Steele/Getty Images

Speed is attractive in sports, especially in the Summer Olympics.

When first thinking of the Summer Games, athletes like Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps come to mind because of their ability to move fast in a event that is, well, fast. There are however, other Olympic events that don't receive as much attention despite moving even faster.

An obvious event is the 4x100-meter relay from the track. In this event, it brings the world's fastest sprinters and forces them to work together as part of a four-person unit. Here, we see the best from each country going at it on a much faster scale than the individual sprinting events.

In addition to that relay though, there are some events just as excitingly fast to watch for.

So, let's check out the best fast-paced events you won't want to miss.



Handball is an excellent combination of sports like basketball, hockey, and soccer.

It's extremely fast, offers a lot of scoring, and never lets up. Albeit a more physical game than given credit for, Handball also provides impressively athletic competitors who can run, jump and move as quick as any Olympian.

Handball athletes also play both offense and defense, so the ability to transition fast up and down the court is critical. Players can only hold the ball for three seconds as well, so the game forces everyone (whether offense or defense) to be constantly moving.

That movement also forces the athletes to possess excellent court awareness, because passing, scoring, and turnovers will happen quite often. If you like to see points get racked up, then Handball is for you.

Cycling, Sprint

Also one of the funnest events you can watch, the sprint aspect of the cycling portion gives you speed on wheels like no other.

Consisting of a head-to-head race, the cycling sprint has two riders duke it out as fast as they can for three laps. The men cyclists can hit speeds above 40 miles per hour, if not faster. The women are also ridiculously fast and can hit speeds near or above 40 miles per hour as well.

At these speeds, cycling sprinting becomes quite a dangerous event. Therefore, we'll see athletes who possess great balance, poise and the ability to control their center of gravity despite the speed.

If anything, this sprint is arguably the most exhilarating when you combine all elements.


Athletics, 4x100-Meter Relay

The 4x100-meter relay is the one athletic event providing an insane rate of speed. Yes, the individual sprints such as the 100-meter and 200-meter are fast as well, but this relay give way to even faster results.

Here, you have the most explosive track athletes of each country on one team in one lane. A typical 400-meter dash at the Olympics usually lasts around 44 seconds for the men and 50 seconds for the women.

In the 4x100 though, these times will get under 40 seconds for the men and 43 seconds for the women. The men will hit less than 10 seconds for each 100-meter leg of the race, while the women are under 11 seconds per leg.

As fast as these Olympians are individually, putting them together takes blazing speed to an unimaginable level.


Follow John Rozum on Twitter.