The 2012 Olympic games are almost upon us! While we're definitely excited to see what the big-hit events like gymnastics and swimming have to bring us, we're also eagerly watching some lesser-known sports.
Here are our five favorite off-the-beaten path Olympic sports:
1. Trampolining. Um, where can I sign up? The high-flying sport of Olympic trampolining is still relatively new to the game, having been introduced in the 2000 Olympic games in Sydney. There are two qualification rounds to advance to the Olympics, and each trampoline team sends eight men and eight women. If you want to see some of the insanely awesome moves trampolinists do, click here!
2. Archery. Did you know archery's actually been an Olympic sport since the second games in 1900? At the 1904 Olympics held in St. Louis, there were five archery events, but no one outside the U.S. competed. Now, each country sends three individual archers who also get to compete as a team, and each individual's score in the individual events is added together to determine their ranking as a team. This year, the No. 1 archer in the world (AKA my top pick to be on my team should The Hunger Games ever become a real thing) is a 23-year-old named Brady Ellison from Arizona.
3. Water polo. This water sport hasn't taken off in the United States the way it has in other countries, but if you like sports such as lacrosse, you might enjoy watching water polo. Plus, the defending gold medalists, the Netherlands, did not qualify to make it to London, so it's anyone's guess as to who will take home the gold this year!
4. Badminton. Badminton was another sport that arrived a bit late to the game, but was added in 1985. Indonesia and Malaysia have been dominating the badminton scene for a while now.
5. Tug-of-war. Seriously, this was an Olympic sport! Alas, it is no more, but from 1900 to 1920, tug-of-war clubs were allowed to enter the Olympics, so I just had to put it on the list. In 1908, the Milwaukee Athletic Club won the gold. Another once-Olympic sport you've probably never heard of? Gliding! As in, motorless planes made of balsa wood that hovered above the ground. Gliding was a demonstration sport in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. It was scheduled to be a full-time Olympic sport in the 1940 games, but that plan was canceled when World War II started.
I know, technically that was four obscure sports and two that no longer exist, but I just had to add the last two. What's your favorite Olympic sport or event? Who are you rooting for this year?