Fun Friday: What's Your Favorite Summer Olympic Sport?

It’s fun friday. Time for more talking and less reading.

The opening ceremony is tonight. We have a fortnight (ish) of sport to watch. This is one of the very few gatherings of the entire world in one place. It’s a celebration of what brings us together. The opening ceremony is such a beautiful thing. The flags, the garb, the pomp and ceremony. The torch. I have to say that I love the Olympics, warts and all.

So for fun today, let’s discuss what our favorite sports are to watch at the summer olympics.

For me, it is swimming. I particularly love the relays.

How about you?


Comments (Archived):

  1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    I did varsity Judo – but it isn’t a spectator sport IMHOI didn’t do Pole Vault – but in my view it is !

    1. pointsnfigures

      My Outtrade clerk was the US National Judo coach. Steve Cohen. I also knew Bob Berland who got a silver medal in 1984. He traded FX

  2. awaldstein

    Doesn’t draw me in but i desperately need distraction and we are in between seasons for my episodic TV followings.

  3. Twain Twain

    Decathlon, gymnastics, 100m, volleyball, freestyle diving and synchronized swimming.Love decathlon because it’s about all-round excellence in athletics. I’d like to see them add swimming to it!

  4. William Mougayar

    Handball and swimming, most likely because I played handball in high school and used to swim competitively.I love the Olympics, and can name each city where Summer and Winter Olympics played in reverse chronology back to 1896.When we arrived in Montreal in 1976, it was a month before the start of the Summer Olympics there, so I took a job selling Coke at one of the stands near the Olympic Village. That earned me a COJO pass and I was allowed into the main Olympic stadium for free and watched from the ground the Opening, Closing ceremonies and many Athletics events. From my earnings, I purchased tickets for my family to watch swimming and boxing competitions that were held in other arenas. I almost lived around the entire Olympic venues for 15 days and it was the experience of a lifetime.

    1. awaldstein

      Interesting–where did you go to high school that hand ball was a sport?

      1. William Mougayar

        French Lycee in Beirut.

      2. Richard

        Played at college, Colorado School of mines !

    2. sigmaalgebra

      Swimming! WOW, you did it competitively! WOW.I tried swimming: I could never do the crawl stroke, could never figure out how to inhale air instead of water or what the heck the role of kicking was. I’d try kicking just by itself, splash water all around, and never move even an inch.So, I settled on the breast stroke. I got the kick easily enough, and I could inhale air!I needed a swimming coach!Actually, Mom took me for swimming lessons when I was 6, but that was also when I was getting middle ear infections so the doctors told me to stop swimming. So, the lessons didn’t help. I doubt if swimming had anything to do with the infections. Eventually they were cured by some slight shrinking of the adenoid tissues — don’t ask how.

      1. William Mougayar

        Swim training is brutal.

  5. Rob Underwood

    The Commodore 64 version of the game “Summer Olympics” was my fav by far. A classic.As to actual sports still played, it’s Olympic lifting (clean & jerk, snatch) because Crossfit incorporates both movements and having been exposed to them through that I appreciate them a lot more.

    1. awaldstein

      Yes on the C64 which I know well.When Jack bought Atari back when we had his influence from the C64 and of course the Atari consoles. What came next was born of those two influences and of course, new tech.

    2. Sebastian Wain

      BTW It’s not an Olympic discipline but a friend of mine is developing new games for C64 and new hardware. In this case he developed a unicycle race game and a new game controller connected to a real unicycle. You can watch it in the following video and play it as well since it is free:

      1. Sram

        Love the opening ceremony

  6. BillMcNeely

    I love track and feild and the bike events

  7. Apple Lane Farm

    Equestrian – dressage, show jumping, but especially eventing. Men and women compete together, along with a 1200-1400 lb horse with a brain too!

  8. pointsnfigures

    Love swimming and used to love basketball before it went pro. The 1972 game still haunts me. Hurdles are awesome too

    1. William Mougayar

      Sad and funny.

  9. Paul M

    Marathon; swimming (particularly relays); decathlon; triathlon. Yes, I am endurance junkie. Note: cannot stand gymnastics. Something about ‘judging’ winners turns my stomach and the TV people trying to get us to fall in love with their imposed narrative is a big deterrent.

  10. Tom Labus

    Track, the 5K and 10K especially.Cycling too!!!

  11. Girish Mehta

    Love, love the Olympics…have been waiting for this to get going for weeks now !For me it is almost impossible to pick a favorite, because I am happy watching most Olympic events. But to pick a marginal first among many equals – it would be track and field (and will probably change my mind on this many times over the next fortnight).

  12. Guest McGuesterson

    Pole vault. I did this event in high school, and I remember coaches trying to describe how a good vault was supposed to look. Finally at some point a world championship event was broadcast and I videotaped an hour of the coverage. From that I got two or three decent (but still grainy) clips I could rewatch. So yeah, I’m jealous of the people coming along years later and the resources they got in comparison.

  13. andyswan

    The “Which Country is Most Attractive” contest tonight is a fun play-at-home game.Events, I’d have to go with track — Watching Allison Felix run is something special… seriously, just watch her run…you’ve never seen anything so smooth, beautiful AND fast. Perfect form.

    1. LE

      The “Which Country is Most Attractive” contest tonight is a fun play-at-home game.I love that. I wonder if anyone has ever done a “where are they now” with Olympic athletes of the past to see how they have aged. And changed. I am actually old enough to remember Bruce when he was Bruce the athlete. And wheaties for that matter.

      1. JLM

        .There are few things that leave me speechless — Jenner is one of them.OK, not so much.Jenner’s quest for Olympic gold in 1976 (Montreal) is one of the greatest stories of personal struggle ever told. He trained every day for 4 years and won with a series of personal bests.There was no financial or training support in those days. He did it all on personal effort. He was a stud.What he did leaving the Olympics is insightful.He left his pole vault poles saying, “I’m done.”JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. LE

          here are few things that leave me speechless — Jenner is one of them.Not me. Shows s/he is screwed up. [1]There was no financial or training support in those days. He did it all on personal effort. He was a stud.Sure but everyone was in the same boat. We are talking about winning a sport event. Not crossing the Delaware with the tools available in the 1700’s. Or even going through a dental procedure in the 1800’s.[1]…Alumni from a range of generations say they are baffled by today’s college culture. Among their laments: Students are too wrapped up in racial and identity politics. They are allowed to take too many frivolous courses. They have repudiated the heroes and traditions of the past by judging them by today’s standards rather than in the context of their times. Fraternities are being unfairly maligned, and men are being demonized by sexual assault investigations. And university administrations have been too meek in addressing protesters whose messages have seemed to fly in the face of free speech.

  14. Thor Snilsberg

    I swim and sail but gymnastics is it. Out of this world skill sets, focus, determination that are all played out in four different events.

  15. aminTorres

    Dominoes… I am kidding! – you said fun right? πŸ˜‰

  16. Kurt Stangl

    I love the Olympics but I’m not a sports guy so I rely heavily on the commentator.I gotta say I still miss Howard Cosell’s voice giving me the flavor, stats and color.

  17. Chris Piatt

    Ever watch kayaking? Those guys/gals are amazing.

    1. Vasudev Ram

      Ah, your saying “amazing” reminded me: kitesurfing is another amazing one (though don’t know if it is an Olympic sport). I had the chance to watch some kitesurfers in action from close for some days; incredible skill and maneuvering. It’s an extreme sport.

      1. Lawrence Brass

        Kitesurfing is amazing indeed. Don’t you think while watching.. yes, I could do this.. and then think again?

        1. Vasudev Ram

          Sure is.

        2. Vasudev Ram

          Probably not, in my case.

  18. Mike Lally

    Field hockey.

  19. JaredMermey

    Women’s gymnastics, especially the floor, vault and uneven bars. I have no idea to the specifics of what they are doing when they are flying and twisting and flipping but I can tell that the combination of power and grace is spectacular.

    1. sigmaalgebra

      Yes, in gymnastics, the women have all the grace, but the men have all the power!

      1. JaredMermey

        Watch these girls leap what looks like a dozen-plus feet into the air…looks like power to me.

        1. sigmaalgebra

          I don’t have a chance of noticing that! To me, if only via my glasses, always men are powerful and women, graceful!

  20. Ana Milicevic

    Track & field is my jam! The Olympics tend to bring out the best performances here and I’m a total sucker for long-standing country rivalries.

  21. Robert Lalonde

    Being Canadian, I tend to follow the sports where we can excel. (which changes every 4 years) And since there isnt hockey in the summer Olympics for some strange reason, I will follow our Women’s soccer team, our rowers and our Andre De Grasse, our up and coming sprinter.

  22. jason wright

    People should have the option to compete under a flag of neutrality. There’s just way too much jingoism and politics. I will not be watching any of it. It feels debased.

    1. Ruth BT

      There is a Refugee Team this year. My favourite team ever was from Timor-Leste. They has only just won their independence and I remember their runner in the 200m coming last in a heat but getting the loudest cheer in the Sydney Stadium. Wonderful stuff!

  23. Emily Steed

    100% swimming relays! And did you see this article about the wild husband / wife Hungarian swimmer / coach team?

  24. Matt M

    The Volleyball is always pretty exciting, and I can’t think of any other televised events where that gets any coverage. I’d like to be able to say Squash, but that is somehow still not an olympic sport! Despite rallies like these…

  25. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Table tennis!

    1. Vasudev Ram

      Table tennis was another favorite sport of mine. I managed to get reasonably good at it (neighborhood level) in school. Love to win points by both spin and slam.

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        I’m terrible at it, which is probably why I enjoy watching the wizards.

        1. Vasudev Ram

          Ha, good point. I don’t think I’d be able to do kitesurfing (that I just mentioned elsewhere in this thread), probably that’s why I find it fascinating.

    2. Twain Twain

      Goodness how could I forget this one! My mother’s been table-tennising a storm against teenagers. She’s in her 60’s and was in her school team.

    3. panterosa,

      Kirsten, you will like this fact – a class mom from our school is at the Olympics. In skeet/target shooting – watch out peeps!

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        Wow! How cool!

  26. Vendita Auto

    Love the hurdles “Moses” On the subject of Brazil this was new to me & blew me away, think of local businesses / communities : https://beyondthemap.withgo

  27. johnmccarthy

    Watching the Opening Ceremony on Twitter

  28. Adam Sher

    I like the 5k, 10k, and tennis (all the time, tennis). I compete in these locally (tennis, 5K) and love watching the elites.

  29. Tom Labus

    Outdoor drinking

  30. sigmaalgebra

    Summer Olympics: Usually track and field. But, it’s great to see US Roundball Dream Teams totally blow away everyone else!Winter Olympics: Women ice skating!!!!! They’re GORGEOUS!Ah, one of the best Olympic moments was one of the early years China had a roundball team and played against the US. At one point, the US had just made a basket, and China had inbound the ball and was bringing it to their end of the court. Two US players gave a secret hand signal or some such and went to work: One of the two US players stayed near the US basket. The other US player met the Chinese player with the ball about mid court, stole the ball, did an overhand pass to the other US player who did a spectacular dunk. “China, you get to try that again.”The Chinese coach was thrilled at the little lesson in roundball! He knew he wasn’t going to win, but he didn’t know the US would beat him that easily! And he very much liked the lesson!Then, sure, the #$%^&*( announcer said “We’re going to cut away now. We will be back if there is anything of interest.” I screamed bloody murder, got on the Internet, looked up the FAX address of the head of GE which owned NBC, or some such, wrote a letter of outrage, and sent it.Sure, the announcer was an English — standard bucket of total contempt by anyone in a STEM field — major who wanted his favorite, drama with lots of human errors, outcome in doubt, a cliff hanger, cliches, e.g., “They’ll win if they POSSIBLY can.” or “He’s definitely the best player who ever tied shoe laces and came to win with his game face on.”. Garbage.I was a math-physics major who wanted, still wants, things designed so well there is no chance of loss, that the victory goes as easily as pushing a button. That is, part of the fun is doing all that work and, then, getting what want, no doubt, just by pushing a button!THEN what’s great to watch is the victory. If there is any doubt about the victory, then that is just ugly, contemptible evidence of bad work!Besides, with the China-US game, get to see a lot about roundball never would see in the NBA — no way would the NBA fail to notice that US snowbird under the US basket or permit a steal near mid court. Indeed, in the NBA, the team with the ball would notice that the other team was in effect short two players, that the game was then 5 against 4 and take big advantage right away! Gee, the guy with the ball had, guaranteed, at least one open player to throw to!So, in the NBA, don’t see such things. No doubt there is a lot more don’t see in the NBA because that game is many layers higher than that.Darned right it was of interest — master class in roundball! Victory in doubt? Not a chance. Else it wouldn’t be a master class.The (*&^%$# sports announcers want to apply their English major formula fiction drama. Instead, I want to see excellence in strategy, tactics, and athleticism. That English major stuff is darned thin, sour, soup instead of the great feast of meat and potatoes it should be! If all the English majors were laid end to end, it would be much better than they deserve. Ah, there is a possible role for the English majors — let them do the laundry for the team!

  31. Vasudev Ram

    Swimming fan here too. Ask me about how me and a schoolmate once almost swam from India to Burma – as it was called then πŸ™‚

    1. Rob Underwood

      Funny story — I had a buddy of mine on my Japan study aboard program who tried to convince me we could build a raft in China and then “sail” down the Mekong between Burma and Laos – without stopping (this was to be during the summer of 1993) – and then arrive in Thailand. I also most took him up on the idea before coming to my senses.

  32. Brett Bedevian

    Very excited to have rugby in the games!

    1. BillMcNeely

      Oh thanks for letting me know!

    2. JLM

      .I dig rugby but I love the haka. French are holding hands and have their arms around each other meanwhile the All Blacks are telling them they intend to “do” them.I always wanted to learn the haka but, alas. It would have been great before going out on a patrol or at a groundbreaking for a high rise.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. Ruth BT

        Looking forward to the rugby too. Have you seen the Maori Olympic song? It’s the the other side of the Haka coin and just lovely. Proud of my neighbours across the ditch!

        1. JLM

          .No, can you hum a few bars? is a bit of the haka in it. NZ has the best trout fishing on the planet.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. Vasudev Ram

      When he first won big in swimming, I think I read in the newspaper that he eats something like a dozen or two egg whites a day (the whites have more protein than the yolk, apparently, or maybe more per gram, and also less fat — though I’m aware that we need fat in our diet too).

      1. Vasudev Ram

        That kind of intense swimming must wear out the muscles pretty fast, hence the need to replenish the protein at that high level.

  33. Richard

    Pole vault – the joy in their eyes is unmatched in other event

  34. Salt Shaker

    The Trump Hog Tie. New to the Olympics this summer. Created by unprecedented international demand. You tie him up and put a sock in his mouth. Fastest wins. Goin for Gold!

    1. LE

      Well done. That would actually be a good SNL skit (if they didn’t fuck it up which they would).

    2. JLM

      .Haha, sort of funny but everybody was having a good time and relaxing and then Salt Shaker has to throw politics into the mix.I will not rise to the bait.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. Lawrence Brass

        I will be at the veggie patch until sunset brother Jeff, if you care to join me. After all, you got me into the monastery. πŸ˜‰

  35. panterosa,

    Gymnastics and diving because I did both. I used to be able to touch my head to my ass and do a walkover across the beam.

  36. Guy Lepage

    Triathlon and surfing..

  37. Aashay Mody

    Basketball (always fun to watch Team USA) and track

  38. JLM

    .Every time I think about this Olympics, I have only one thought:”Dear God, let everybody come, compete, and go home in peace. Protect them.”Absent the threat from terror, Rio is a deadly place with tons of murders and the cops killing 300 per year which is down from recent experience.Safety is my favorite event.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. Lawrence Brass

      One thing I can guarantee (gettin’ Trumpy here), those who dare to spoil the show in Rio will not escape alive. As you say, police there has to deal daily with heavy crime and are very effective. I have no evidence of this, but there are signs that a lot of high level corruption cases that have been processed in South America lately, including Chile, have been possible thanks to the cooperation of the FBI and their surveillance infrastructure. So they have an important role to play during the Olympics.

      1. JLM

        .My sense is that Brazil is as corrupt as it gets at the top and as tough as it gets at the bottom.The police are also very well armed as they’ve had to shoot it out with the drug lords for a long time.I am always appalled at the notion of sending cops with handguns up against criminals with long rifles.I hope it is a very slow news cycle for all the world.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. Rob Larson

          I lived in Brazil for 2 years and can report that people I met universally believed (not just suspected – believed with total sincerity) that their politicians were all corrupt.Maybe that’s why the public was so adamant that their president be impeached (one million people protesting in the street calling for impeachment) when evidence of graft on her watch turned up, despite lacking evidence that she personally was involved.And yes, the favelas there are tough. I once walked the entire distance from one side of the biggest favela in Rio to the other. I don’t think I’d do that again.

    2. Diego Sana

      Brazilian here. Every time we host an international event, media freak out about violence, structure not getting done in time, corruption, blah blabh. And the events always goes smooth and everyone get back to their countries safe and happy about the experience they had. Yes, there`s lots of problems in this country (and we are in the middle of the biggest economic depression in our history), but the thing is, during such events, Rio is as safe as it gets. Streets are packed with cops and even the army, criminals are not going to do anything dumb to get the slite squads raiding their favelas. Just chill and enjoy the games from the confort of your couch πŸ™‚

      1. JLM

        .Nice to hear from the local observers. Thanks for the info.I think the whole world is a little tight just now.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  39. @billg

    As a lifelong competitive swimmer (age-group; high school, collegiate, masters) swimming is #1 on my list of Olympic sports. I’m really looking forward to seeing Michael Phelps swim & expect to see him win at least three more Gold medals. Equally excited about watching Katie Ledecky -the world’s most dominating swimmer.

  40. Nick Hencher

    Cycling – The Omnium – multi-event track race, think decathlon of cycling, in the elimination race (Devil take the Hindmost) the last rider in the field to pass the finish line is eliminated every so many laps,until only two riders remain to ride in the final sprint. It’s tactical and your rider can be eliminated out of the blue – well worth a watch

  41. Paul Sanwald

    my favorites to watch are Boxing and Olympic Weightlifting (Snatch, Clean and Jerk), mostly because I only really enjoy watching sports that I participate in. I particularly enjoy boxing because it’s so different strategically from professional boxing.

  42. disqus_gadgeteer

    For the pure strangeness the Modern Pentathlon. The five events are: Fencing, 200m freestyle swim, Horse show jumping, and 4 rounds of 10m standing pistol shooting between 800m running laps. To really make in modern they ought to swap kick boxing for fencing and car racing for horse jumping.

  43. Peter Radizeski

    volleyball – indoor and beach as well as women’s soccer and basketball.

  44. creative group

    CONTRIBUTORS:Our favorite Olympian Sport is Women’s Track & Field. (We are partial to viewing beautifulathletic and gifted women) (Sprinters to be exact)Favorite Olympic moments:1. Tommie Smith and John Carlos famous Black Power pose on the podium after a medal win in the 1968 Olympics protesting the human rights violations of African Americans in America. At the dismay of many in America. But no protests of the dogsbeing ordered on the protesters by the Police around the country. Historical amnesia is very convenient. Brent Musburger called them “black-skinned storm troopers,” (a reprehensible comparison to the Nazis.)2. Joan (Joanie) Benoit Samuelson winning the inaugural Women’s Marathon in Los Angeles and making that move to take the lead against Norwegian world champion Grete Waitz and being chased for two hours.3. Jamaica born Canadian Ben Johnson crushing United States Carl Lewis while setting the world record with a 100-meter dash clocking of 9.79 seconds. Then in two hours lost it. (What!)4. Cathy Freeman of Australia who was the first Aboriginal to compete with a chance to win the gold for Australia in the 400 meter faced a favorite Marie-JosΓ© PΓ©rec and actuallythe hype lived up to the ending and she won.5. Barefooted South African Teenager Zola Budd mistakenly tripping up America’s darling Mary Decker-Slaney on the 1984 Olympics in LA. Bob Beamon’s 1968 Olympic Games long jump that measured a record 8.90 metres (29.2 feet) and hadn’t been broken for 23 years. It required 23 minutes to measure itbecause the measuring tape didn’t even reach that far. Amazing. material: bleacher report (Always give credit to were it is do) Plagiarism is frowned upon in this establishment.

  45. Mrinal

    Athletics. 100m “Bolt” … he has winning it all since 2008 (except for 2011 when disqualified due to a false start)! Decathlon has been a great inspiration for me as well …

  46. johnmccarthy

    Happy to see Softball returning to the Olympics in 2020.

  47. trog

    The 100m DMCA Video Clip Takedown.

  48. MickSavant

    my favorite has to be Athletics, though I will admit a bias having been a miler and cross country runner in college.But the reason it is my favorite is that the measurements are objective, and times and performances can be compared to all of human history. There is no debate about Jordan vs. James; the times, distances, and heights are right there. The winner isn’t chosen, vs other sports that involve human judging.Also, unlike other expensive sports (swimming, winter sports, others) the entire world can participate. Some of the fastest runners ever grew up with nothing in Ethiopia. All they had to do was run. In Ethiopia they don’t have the luxury of putting water into pools, or freezing it to skate on.

  49. Financial Slacker

    Fencing is my sport to watch this year. The US men have a decent chance to win their first gold medal in the sport. And on the women’s side, the US has its first Muslim American competing in a hijab.

  50. Lawrence Brass

    For the sake of honesty and risking Kirsten asking for her coat and leaving the bar πŸ˜‰ , I like watching the “girls” running, jumping, and gymnastics. The beauty of the human body in motion. Since HD is available watching the Olympics is really awesome. Archery, fencing, jump diving are my favourites.It is curious that Rio is technically in winter and hosting the summer olympics. Today I saw the first blossoming plum tree walking back home, spring is near. Things that happen south of the wall.

  51. Ruth BT

    I love the Games too. I worked on the Sydney Games (Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi!) and love watching everything. This year I’m looking forward to Jess Fox – canoe slalom, rugby, swimming and even though we only have one, the Gymnastics. USA women’s team is fabulous but look out for the Men. There are so many new tricks (yet un-named) going to be attempted. For familiarisation for this event I urge you all to watch the following.

  52. TNB

    Not even close– handball. awesome sport that seems to only be shown during Olympics. Kids love watching it.

  53. Brian Hirsch

    I used to love the Olympics but will not be watching anymore. Hard to support them after recently seeing this extended report from Bryant Gumbel and Real Sports about the IOC. If you haven’t watched it your view of the Olympics will forever be altered. Viewers should turn it off until the system is changed:

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  55. bfeld

    Swimming and track. I realize they are very symmetric – I love watching them both.

  56. Nick Hencher

    The 1904 Olympics were a classic:6 Ways the 1904 Olympics Were the Craziest Event Ever Held…

  57. Jack

    Gymnastics and Athletics (track and field)

  58. Jeffrey Woo

    I threw Javelin in HS as well. Track & Field was co-ed, and I didn’t have to run, which was the main reasons why I threw Javelin. I finished 6th in States (MA)

  59. andyswan

    Pretty good for no upvotes