Little known sports are frequently showcased in the Olympics. Each time people tune in to watch, they are treated to these obscure sports. If you are a fan of what you usually see at the Olympics, from activities that involve a trampoline to those that have to do with curling, you should know what you are watching for the maximum entertainment value.
Biathlon originated in Norway in 1861 and is popular not only there but in the United States, Sweden, Finland, Canada, Poland, Germany, France, Italy and several other countries. A cross country ski trail is divided into two or four shooting positions so that competitors can shoot at a target while half prone or half standing.
Bobsleigh originated in Switzerland in 1884. It involves a specific steering mechanism on a track that is covered by ice. One section of the track is straight and others have quick turns that tend to be sharp. Two to four riders sit within the sleigh and race. There are similar Olympic sports in the luge and skeleton, which also originated in Switzerland around the same time with similar methods of performance.
Curling dates back to the Middle Ages and Scotland. It is often referred to as “chess on ice.” Four individuals on a team take turns maneuvering a large stone made of granite across the ice and toward a target. It is somewhat familiar to modern day hockey as the player sweeps, which means reducing the speed or friction of the object and reducing the spin of it.
The modern pentathlon was founded by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, who also founded the Olympics that we know today. The sport involves five parts that include 200 meter freestyle swimming, fencing, show jumping, a 3,200 meter run and pistol shooting.
Dressage is also known as horse or equestrian ballet and originated in Ancient Europe during the Renaissance. The horse performs with a number of graceful athletic moves that it would normally exhibit in the wild. The performance is judged and rated on a scale of 1 to 10.
The 3,000 meter steeplechase is open to both men and women. It includes a 3,000 meter track with obstacles that cannot be moved. These objects are set at 36 inches high for men and 30 inches high for women. Each race has seven circuits with four obstacles and one water barrier. The fastest time completed wins.