Olympic Events You Should Watch

Featured Article, Seasonal, Sports, Traditions
on July 24, 2012
Courtesy of London 2012

Looking for Olympic events that aren't quite as popular? Feel like cheering for the underdog, or want to watch when a smaller sport becomes an American favorite? We think these three sports will do better than ever for the U.S., and can't wait to watch these strong athletes compete.

Check out our complete 2012 Olympics Guide

Bow and arrows  might not be adrenaline pumping for you, but this sport requires intense amounts of focus and strength. The kids might be into this, too, especially if they saw Brave.

Things to know:
Korea often takes the medals for this sport, but maybe with more support and some eager fans watching, we can place at the top this year.

Archery is rising in popularity, but maybe not in the way you expect. More hunters are learning to use bows and arrows, finding them quieter than guns and making the experience even more focus-oriented.

These bows aren’t simple sticks with strings. Archery bows are incredibly complex, and the owners often spend time modifying them to ensure the best performance.

People to watch:

  • Brady Ellison: The 22 year-old is, simply put, the best there is. He’s ranked No. 1 in the world, and has been shooting up to 650 arrows a day to prepare for London. This man is in to win.
  • Jennifer Nichols: Beauty and archery? Yep, she’s got it all. She’s been in two Olympics and shown an incredible performance at both. We’re crossing our fingers to see if she beats her Korean rivals for a gold.

Riding horses is a popular after-school activity, but these men and women have continued the passion. This isn’t like the Kentucky Derby or Steeplechase, with just a race. This has obstacle courses, agility, and incredible amounts of focus.

Things to know:
The U.S. has the most equestrian medals, but is fourth in golds. Many are expecting Germany to reign over the leaderboard, but some incredible American talent may prove otherwise.

People to watch:

  • Reed Kessler is a young rider at 17, but is proving to the world that she was meant for the Olympics. She only became eligible to be a senior jumper this year, but since then she’s jumped over all the competition. Keep a lookout for this underdog!
  • Boyd Martin was raised by Olympic parents (a speed skater and a cross-country skier), and that competitive drive is evident in his talent. His barn burned down earlier this year, and his best horse managed to make it out alive and has fully recovered. Clearly the horse shares his determination, and that can only mean good things in the races.

The clashing of sword blades might remind you of a great action scene in a movie. Fencing, however, is normally done with a lighter blade, and has intense focus, light footwork, and hand-eye coordination that is nearly unmatched.

Things to know:
There are many up and coming fencers since the US claimed a gold in Athens, and it’s starting to become popular as an after-school sport.

People to watch:

  • Mariel Zagunis: We may have reported on her earlier, but we can’t get enough of this girl’s talent. Sharp wit, pure talent, and all around great girl, Mariel is the reason fencing started to gain popularity again in the states. I have no doubt she’ll impress yet again.
  • Daryl Homer is only 21, but has been in training for roughly half is life for these games. He’s got a fencing scholarship at St. John’s University, and is confident that he will blow the judges and the world away.