After most people go to bed feeling good about themselves and thinking about the results from gymnastics or swimming or track and field, a funny thing happens. The Olympics keep going. And if you're like me and have cable television and a newborn baby that has you up at odd hours, you are blessed with being able to watch some odd sports. I've gotta admit: I've actually kind of gotten into a few of these, to the point that I'm considering an Obscure Sports Quarterly subscription and a TV package that includes ESPN 8 ("The Ocho")...
While there are the obviously obscure choices like badminton and table tennis, here are a few that have caught my attention:
- the steeplechase: This one gets the prize for me, simply because I wasn't sure if I really saw this or if I dreamed it. I asked Stephanie today which sport had a footrace with hurdles that were like horse hurdles, and a jump into a pool of water. She looked at me like I was crazy. Maybe I really did dream it up. Nope. That would be the steeplechase.
- trampoline: Athletes jump on a trampoline about 20 feet in the air and do all sorts of flips and whatnot. It gets trickier because they have to stay within a small square portion of the trampline. I really got into this one. Very artistic and very athletic at the same time.
- speedwalking: Another one I thought I might have dreamt up. It's just like it sounds: you walk real fast. While the dudes look pretty weird, I have a huge appreciation for what they do. The main event is 20K, which is really close to a half marathon, my race distance of choice. And the whole walking thing isn't far off from the Galloway run/walk method I like to utilize.
- cycling: Not the street cycling, but the indoor racing in the big wooden bowl. Since I am the least coordinated person I know, I have a tremendous appreciation for sports which involve equipment. The circular nature adds a little bit of NASCAR flair, and you're sitting there going "how do these dudes not wreck all the time?"
- canoe/kayak: The Chinese built a little whitewater river with a stadium beside it. That right there is intriguing enough, but it's pretty amazing watching people not just go down the rapids effortlessly, but they have to go through all these little gates, not unlike downhill skiing. And they make it look so easy...