Every four years (or two or something) we all get jacked about the Olympics. There is mad hype, all of the brands get in on it and we are ready to sing the national anthem as America kicks everyone’s butt at various sports.
But by the last few days of the competitions we all get pretty bored and stop watching and that is when the Olympic committee schedules all of their weirdest competitions.
Here are the highlights of the very weird last few days of the Olympics that nearly no one actually watched:
- Rhythmic Gymnastics
That’s right folks at the Olympics there are two kinds of gymnastics. There is the one you are probably familiar with where the men and women perform physics defying feats of acrobatic skill known as “Artistic Gymnastics” and then there is Rhythmic Gymnastics.
Rhythmic gymnastics features dancers who utilize tools such as ribbon and hula hoops as part of their floor routines. The focus is on dance and artistry.
This year, Israel’s Linoy Ashram upset the Russian athletes taking home a surprise all around gold. Her gold medal is one of Israel’s three in the Tokyo Olympics. In my opinion, when Israel wins, America wins. Take that commies!
It’s not that baseball is a weird sport, it’s just that I find it weird for it to be part of the Olympics when really only America and a few countries in Asia actually have baseball. Plus we’re in the middle of baseball season in America where it actually counts so I am having a hard time understanding who is even sourced for the Olympic team.
Anyway Japan beat Team USA in a big upset as the only other country in the world who really even cares about baseball. And I’m not here for that kind of loss, Team USA, considering we invented that sport. This is what happens when we send a bunch of guys in the middle of our regular season at home.
- Race Walking
You knew there was Olympic running. You knew there was hurdles, sprints, relays and all of the types of running. But did you know you could walk your way to Olympic gold? Not only does Race Walking exist in the Olympics but it exists in several different race lengths (20 km and 50 km) .
Here’s a weird fun fact for you, the 50 km race has been dropped from the 2024 Paris Olympics roster because, for some reason, there is no female race equivalent. Why? I have no idea.
Olympic race walking has extremely specific rules about motion of the body. They have judges positioned throughout the race course where participants can be given time penalties for breaking rules such as overly bent knees and not having one foot on the ground at any given time.
Long story short: NO RUNNING
Anyway Team Italy swept the 20 km winning Gold in womens and mens (Antonella Palmisano and Massimo Stano) and Poland’s Dawid Tomala took the 50 km Gold.
- Equestrian Jumping
After the attention brought to dressage by Mitt Romney’s dancing pony, Rafalca, and the review of dressage by Snoop Dogg and Kevin Hart on their Olympic Highlights show on NBC’s Peacock, it’s gotten more notoriety at the Olympics and got bumped up the schedule.
But actually there are multiple horse events at the Olympics including Olympic jumping. This event isn’t so much weird as it is unfair because the horses don’t get medals that fit them but instead their riders get the medals. But excuse me, who is making the jumps?
The whole thing reminds me of National Velvet and I don’t understand why the announcers aren’t required to affect a Mickey Rooney accent.
Also a weird fun fact, Jessica Springsteen, the daughter of Bruce Springsteen, represented Team USA and won a silver medal with her team in Equestrian Jumping. Ironic considering Bruce’s contempt for capitalism. Do we think it was socialism that bought Jessica her jumping pony? Born in the USA indeed.
Gold went to Sweden by only 1.3 seconds thanks to errors incurred almost exclusively by Springsteen.
- Keirin Cycling
There are a lot of variations of cycling in the Olympics from BMX to street racing and one bizarre iteration that shows up at the back end is called Keirin. It turns out that this not-so-well-known competition is actually extremely exciting and fun to watch so I highly recommend it if you are looking for some highlights.
What happens is, six cyclists ride in a line (positions drawn at random before the start) behind a funny looking motorcycle until they gradually reach a certain speed and they all have to ride a few laps behind the bike at that set speed. Then the motorcycle leaves the track and they all dash like crazy to vie for first in just a short lap. People fall and collide its crazy.
Also bonus photo for you because Great Britain took home gold in the men’s Keirin and this is how he decided to look in his moment of victory:
- Double Canoe
As someone who grew up in the western United States where rivers are powerful and river sports are trendy, I wouldn’t classify canoe or kayak as a “weird” sport. However, double canoe is pretty weird.
Two people get on their knees on essentially a paddle board they’re calling a canoe and go crazy trying to move as fast as they can. I have a million “why” questions on the need for a partner event in this style or sport, not to be confused with rowing where part of the competition is the ability to be in sync.
But anyway these couples do an amazing job even if it is weird, so good for them. Would ride with them down a river any day 10/10. China took home Gold in the women’s double and the Cubans won Gold for men.
- Closing ceremony
The closing ceremony is weird af and always has been. It’s like the last song the school dance band plays when the lights turn on and everyone is supposed to go home. Almost everyone has already left. The energy is gone. It’s over, just blow out the torch and move on.
This year’s ceremony featured some nonsense speeches, a very sad tribute to athletes killed in terrorist attacks throughout history (nice to honor them but still sad). It’s all just a very weird vibe like a party I stayed too long at and I want to leave but I can’t get an uber.
This year the hand off was for the 2024 Paris Olympics and I personally have many questions about how Paris landed the bid and how lame France will manage to make a competitive event.