We're all familiar with the mainstream Olympic sports like swimming and track, but what about the other, less publicized sports? Yes, we all want to see Michael Phelps swim and Usain Bolt run track, but there are a lot of hidden gems in the Olympics, many of which can be found on late-night TV since they don't attract as much attention from casual viewers and thus do not draw big ratings.
These are among the coolest and most entertaining sports that the entire Olympics has to offer. Just because an event isn't on in prime time doesn't mean you shouldn't watch it. Here are the five coolest "under the radar" Olympic events.
You won't hear many people saying that they can't wait for the Olympic shooting events, but they're actually really interesting and fun to watch. The talent that some of these shooters exhibit is pretty amazing. To be able to hit a bull's-eye from a long distance, time after time, is much more difficult than it appears to the average viewer.
The shooting events may not attract a huge audience, but they're one of the best-kept secrets of the Olympics. If you get the chance, tune in and see the best shots in the world compete against one another.
While not massively under-the-radar, BMX is possibly the craziest and the most action-packed event of the entire games. While most people prefer to watch BMX in the X Games, and some would say that's where the sport solely belongs, you can't deny that it is really fun to watch.
Who doesn't want to see guys go really high in the air and do crazy tricks on their bikes? There are always riders who are going to pull out new wild tricks, as well as riders who are going to have huge wipeouts. Sure sounds entertaining to me.
Badminton is maybe the sport that the average person can relate to the most in the Olympics. No matter who you are, you have definitely played it at some point in gym class during high school.
Badminton is a lot of fun to play, and it's even more fun to watch—especially when it's played at the incredibly high speeds and high skill levels exhibited in the Olympics.
Some of the rallies are absolutely ridiculous. The birdie will be in the air for almost a full minute sometimes, but they hit it so hard and fast that you can't even keep track of where it is.
There's nothing better than a badminton game that is all tied up and comes down to the wire. It's one of the most exciting and tense moments that can happen in the Olympics.
Of all the sports played in the Olympics, handball is the one that I most wish was played by top athletes from the United States. Imagine if the best NFL and NBA players played this game. The speed would be absurd, and it would probably be borderline dangerous.
Anyway, handball is awesome, and if you've never watched it in the Olympics, it's time to check it out.
Handball is a mix of basketball and soccer, except you can't foul out and physical contact is encouraged. It's played at a blistering pace and is one of the highest-scoring sports you'll ever see. Some of the jukes and fakes that these guys pull off are reminiscent of some top NFL running backs.
Basically, handball is awesome and exciting, and you're sure to be entertained.
Is there really any better sport than Olympic table tennis? Seriously, I watch it as much as I can. Some of the back-and-forth action is about as intense as you'll see in any sport.
I'm not being sarcastic—table tennis is the real deal. The speed and power with which some of these guys hit the ball, while still maintaining pinpoint control, is nothing short of godly.
There's no way that I'm the only person to attempt to hold a paddle in the crazy manner that some of the players do, only to fail miserably. The talent displayed by Olympic table tennis players is immense. Mere mortals can't even begin to comprehend the skill it takes to compete in this sport.
These athletes—yes, they're athletes, because it takes a lot of precise lateral movement and coordination to make it in this sport at the highest level—provide viewers with maybe the most scintillating action of any sport in the entire Games. Do yourself a favor and tune in.
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