Image by Andrey Belchenkov/Red Bull Content Pool
With the spotlight on Brazil for the second time in two years, and athletes of all disciplines descending on “Cidade Maravilhosa” (The Marvelous City), we wanted to give you a heads up on what to watch! Let’s be brutally honest here; there are some sports that are extremely boring to watch. I can’t recall many saying “I can’t wait for the 20km walk to start”. But there are many exhilarating spectator sports that you wouldn’t think to tune in to.
The knee-jarring, high-octane, severely under-hyped BMXing at the Olympics is a spectacle. This isn’t ‘Matt Hoffman’s’ and this isn’t about grinding or nailing 360° tailspins. This is purely about the speed and there is plenty of that with spills as a byproduct. Just see British one-to-watch Liam Phillips who even gave up the sport in 2011 following so many bone breakages, that he’d gotten to the point we he’d stop telling people he had broken them! Navigating the track and each other makes BMX racing dangerous but hugely exciting to watch.
Sitting side on and watching this sport can produce a serious neck workout whilst seemingly displaying constant disapproval but the rallies in table tennis are very regularly incredible. The hand-eye coordination and paddle-control from these competitors to turn the ball into a blur is highly enviable. Each point is a battle and the amount of work a player can put in to earn just one is extraordinary. Being their national sport, the Chinese will dominate – for good reason. Lookout for men’s world #1 Ma Long, who has won a record 5 ITTF world tournaments in a row; not to mention a streak of 35 sets.
Ma Long and some of his best shots.
When you see one of the competitors land a jumping reverse hook kick, you’ll feel the buzz. The thrill of watching fighters in martial arts is alive now more than ever. However, Taekwondo is far less cagey that Judo and scoring is a lot more frequent. The moves and kicks of Taekwondo, originating in South Korea, are the move that Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme have been beating up outnumbering enemies since the 80s and 90s. Seriously, why wouldn’t you want to watch that but at the Olympics…
No, I’m not talking giving away a free-kick in football, but the sport of handball itself. Very popular throughout mainland Europe, the fast paced 7 a-side competition which is like a combination of football and basketball on a dodgeball court is rousing to watch. It’s high scoring and there’s actually a lot of flair displayed by players as they go airborne to launch their shots or indeed fake for the no-look passes. Give it a chance this year.
Handball highlights 2014 – 2015 (excuse the dubstep).
The power demonstrated by these athletes is phenomenal. Co-ordinating their way through the labyrinth rapids, pulling off the entries of red gates which must be completed upstream and in the double competition/s, syncing this with your partner; it’s all so exhausting to explain, let alone physically execute. It’s upper body and it’s core strength, both in order be fastest.