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Badminton! Dressage! Fencing! In Praise of Weird Olympic Sports

Everyone loves bashing the Olympics' quirkier events. Curling, in the Winter Games, is a punchline only slightly less shopworn than jokes about airline food. But I'm here to tell you, curling rocks. Unironcially.

Sadly the Summer Olympics don't have any events that use a broom, but there's still a host of lesser-known sports. That's what's most fun about the Games for me. If you want top-level tennis, after all, you can find it almost every week. If you want the NBA, there's a nine-month regular season and playoffs. Only once every four years do we get to see the world's best at, say, kayak.

Or dressage, which is fascinating. It is!

The equestrian events are getting lots of attention this year—a phrase one doesn't get to write very often—because Ann Romney has a horse competing. However, besides being a sport for rich people, Dressage is also hypnotically compelling—a sort of dance between horse and rider. Also, the point is to keep the horses healthy. So, unlike thoroughbred racing, the competitors very rarely die on track. Always a plus.

Patrick, you mentioned badminton and table-tennis. Both are a delight. With apologies for getting all Napoleon Dynamite on you, what's wrong with adding tetherball? No, I'm not kidding. Olympic tetherball would rule. Barring that, though, my favorite quirky Olympic sport is unquestionably fencing.

Lest we forget, despite a name that suggests stolen goods are involved, fencing is a form of dueling. We are talking about high-tech swordfighting, for goodness sake. You know who swordfights? Pirates. You know who else? Robin Hood, The Fonz, and—oh, yeah—the Jedi knights. Any sport that's good enough for the Jedi is good enough for me.

–Hampton

Presented by

Sports Roundtable

Patrick Hruby, Jake Simpson, and Hampton Stevens 

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