A look into the lesser-known Olympic sports

It’s finally happening! No, not our trip to London for the Olympic Games, that’s not until July. But, for me it’s almost that scary. Starting with Friday’s paper and Thursday night’s online edition, we are launching my series of columns that looks into some of the more neglected Olympic sports. You know, the ones whose results barely register on the ticker and in the daily recaps, the ones happy to get 15 seconds of fame, much less 15 minutes. The ones you may not have even known — and may not believe — existed as Olympic sports.

I’m kicking the series off with my column on Trampoline. It’s the newest and least known of three gymnastics disciplines within the Olympics (the other two are artistic and rhythmic). I went to the Vargas Academy near the Sentinel offices in Scotts Valley and Vern Vargas tried his best to teach me the basics. It’s tougher than you’d think for something that’s usually considered the domain of kids. And, it’s kind of dangerous. While showing off for our photographer, Shmuel Thaler, I landed face first on the trampoline and got some nasty floorburn — on my nose.

I’m hoping by the time you read the column and the sidebars that tell you everything you’d ever want to know about the sport — like the dates of the competition, frequent terms and a history and explanation of the rules — that you’ll actually understand what’s going on if you see it briefly flicker across your TV or computer screen.

Trampoline is just the first in the series. I’m hoping to run one a week — every Friday — until the Games begin. That’s ambitious, but it’s good to have goals. Some of the others in the works:




And some I’m considering:

Synchronized swimming


Table Tennis

Equestrian jumping


If you can help me experience these sports, drop me a note. Or, do the same if there’s a sport out there you’d like to see explored.

Thanks for reading!

Categories: Olympic Preparation, Olympics, Photos, Video | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “A look into the lesser-known Olympic sports

  1. Arun.s

    Hi, I just want to say Badminton is also a very misunderstood sport. It is athletically very demanding, with speed ,stamina, physical dexterity, endurance, deception and power etc. being some of its defining characteristics.
    In the U.S. more people dismiss it as a backyard game only for recreation. That’s for those who are athletically challenged, and so it comes in handy to play it with cheap equipment for fun. That’s ok and can be fun, but the true version is competitive indoor Badminton. I wish they were fortunate enough to see the true sport. It is absolutely great to watch, but even better and rewarding to participate in on a regular basis. “Captivating !”
    What is an added advantage as well is that it can be played year round, regardless of the weather!
    I and my sports buddys look forward to the London ‘Games’ in July/August and hope the live coverage will also be on prime time networks…no harm in hoping, even though we remain disillusioned.

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