Olympics 2012: Underrated Events You Can't Miss

Sam R. QuinnSenior Analyst IIIJuly 30, 2012

Olympics 2012: Underrated Events You Can't Miss

0 of 5

    You know about basketball, soccer, gymnastics and swimming, but there are a handful of events that you probably haven't thought about watching at the 2012 London Olympics.

    To miss these largely unknown events would be a mistake of colossal proportions, as a few of them are just as exciting as the mainstream competitions.

    Not all of these events require the participants to possess supreme athletic ability, but every athlete must be a master at their respective craft.

    We can't spoil all the fun on the opening slide, so move on as five events that you cannot miss are revealed.

Taekwondo

1 of 5

    You can't look at that picture and say that you aren't immediately intrigued at the thought of watching the Taekwondo competition in London.

    Anything that involves flying kicks and punches has me hooked, and you should be too. The amount of concentration, athleticism and coordination required to launch oneself in the air and land a precise strike to an opponent is beyond my comprehension.

    In Beijing, South Korea led the medal count in the competition with four gold medals over four weight classes for men and women.

    Unfortunately, Taekwondo starts a bit later in the competition. I know you're chomping at the bit to watch this ancient art, but you'll have to wait until August 8 when the flyweights get underway.

Shooting

2 of 5

    It's hard to tell exactly what kind of guns the two men in the above picture are working with, but they look like a couple of pistols out of the movie RoboCop.

    There will be 15 events over a 10-day period starting on July 28 that will see various weaponry used in competition. Air rifle, air pistol, rapid-fire pistol, skeet, trap and double trap are just a few of the many that we will see in London.

    The shooting competition has one of the best storylines of all. Malaysia's Nur Suryani Mohamed Taibi will be participating while eight months pregnant (via New York Daily News). She excels in the 10-meter air rifle and is an inspiration to mothers-to-be everywhere.

Hockey

3 of 5

    No, not ice hockey, because that would be silly to play at the Summer Olympics, but field hockey. Twelve teams will compete in both the men's and women's competition, as the participating nations will battle it out on the field, 11-on-11.

    Like many other sports, you have to be fast and coordinated to play well, but I'm more concerned about how their backs don't hurt with all that bending down.

    It isn't as dangerous as ice hockey, as the high-impact collisions are absent, but the ball is extremely hard and comes off the stick at a very high velocity.

    You can receive your daily dose of Olympic field hockey every day from July 29 to August 11.

Table Tennis

4 of 5

    It's not harder than tennis. It's not easier than tennis. It's just different.

    Table tennis is the miniature counterpart of regular tennis, taking more precision and similar hand-eye coordination. One thing is for certain: You need ridiculously fast reflexes to compete in a table tennis tournament on the Olympic stage.

    It's one of the most popular sports at the Summer Games—participant-wise, at least—as there will be 86 participants of each gender competing for gold medals.

    Coverage begins on Saturday, July 28 and runs to Wednesday, August 8.

Handball

5 of 5

    I had the pleasure of playing this delightful sport in gym class back in high school, and I can assure you, it's one of the most fun sports to play.

    If soccer is too slow for you, handball is the game for you at the 2012 London Olympics. It's not quite soccer, because participants primarily use their hands to find the back of the net, but it involves the same concept of working your way to the net with close passing.

    Scores get up into the 20s and 30s (if you're lucky), so there is never a dull moment.

    Last year, France took the gold medal for the men over Iceland, while the Norwegian women beat Russia in the gold-medal game.

    The fun starts on July 28 and goes all the way to August 12.