Real or Not Real? Olympic Sports Edition

I’m assuming like most of the world’s citizens, we’re not experts on any of these Olympic sports, but any time we ever spend more than an hour watching something like synchronized diving, we immediately consider ourselves at-home-commentators who’ve suddenly become qualified to literally judge the sport from our couch.

But we know the truth. I forget synchronized diving is a thing people train for a month after cheering for David Boudia as he wins a silver medal. I forget synchronized diving is even a sport all together! So while all of us couch potatoes are obviously on the verge of becoming professional athletes, there are some sports that we might need to brush up on. Canoe Slalom? Rhythmic Gymnastics? Croquet? JK That last one isn’t a real sport. But can you tell the difference between these real and fake Olympic Sports? Time to brush up on your athletic knowledge.


Softball: the sport that is for women! Because we can’t possibly handle a smaller ball to hit with a bat!

Sport Or Not A Sport?

Softball is… not an Olympic sport! Not anymore. It WAS when the Olympics began in 1936, but in 2005, the IOC decided to discontinue Softball and it was played for the last time in 2008, when the gold medal was won by Japan. This was the only time the U.S. did not win the gold, and ended up with silver. There are a lot of theories as to why the IOC decided to pull the plug on softball, and one of them is that the U.S. was simply too dominant in the sport and were like, ‘um forget it. We can’t keep handing these gold medals to the Americans.’


Fun fact: I used to be super into golf. The PGA Championship was held in Rochester one year, and I went and saw Tiger from afar and other pro golfers in the flesh. Then I randomly got into it and would spend my Sunday afternoons with a tournament on the TV. What I’m saying is that I’m actually a pro-golfer and I’ve been lying about my other job this entire time.

Sport Or Not A Sport?

Golf… IS an Olympic sport! The Rio Olympics are the first time Golf has been played since 1904. And before that, it was only played in 1900. Golf at the Olympics are set up as an individual competition, so it’s none of that Ryder Cup group mentality. It’s every man and woman for themselves. Interestingly, a bunch of the world’s top golfers, like many anthletes, decided to pull out of the Olympics because of Zika. They’ll just continue to be bit by mosquitoes everywhere else.

Rugby Sevens

Rugby is cool. It’s popular in New Zealand, it’s more intense than American football, and you pass backwards. The offsides rules make no sense. There’s normal rugby, and there’s rugby sevens – 7 players vs 7 players with 7-minute periods. (I briefly dated a doofy rugby player when I was like 20, it is what it is).  The players from NZ do cool chants.

Sport Or Not A Sport?

Rugby Sevens… IS an Olympic sport! And 2016 is its debut year. I happened to be home when a women’s rugby sevens match was on this weekend and it was actually really, really fun. Men’s finals are on Thursday and the women’s competition is over. It was Australia v New Zealand which we bet is a big rivalry!


My word association with trampolines:

Sport Or Not A Sport?

Trampoline… IS a sport! The moves from Saved By the Bell’s Hot Sundae music video are not the same thing they do on the Olympic level.

Equestrian Vaulting

Did anyone ever watch that move Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken? It sounds like a slogan that would be on a t-shirt from Forever 21 along with a photo of, you know, a wistful girl in a flower crown, but I promise that it’s real. It’s about a girl who used to be a horse diver – like, took a living horse to the top of a platform and dove into water in the 1920s when that passed for entertainment – until she went deaf from horse diving. Or maybe the horse did. In any case, that’s how I imagine Equestrian Vaulting – a horse jumping over or from a tall thing.

The reality is so much better. Equestrian vaulting is “gymnastics or dance on horseback” – like dressage, but where the human is the one doing the fancy stuff. That is so hardcore. There are so many equestrian events that equestrian vaulting as an Olympic sport sounds entirely plausible.

Sport Or Not A Sport?

Equestrian Vaulting is … not an Olympic sport. But it was in 1932 when people were still really into doing weird things with horses, and if dedicated vaulters have their way, it would be back. We support this motion.


Was Lacrosse a really big sport at everyone’s high school or was that just in like, Western New York?

Sport Or Not A Sport?

Lacrosse… is NOT an Olympic sport. It was only a sport in 1904 and 1908, and both times Canada won. There were demonstration events at three Olympics, but those net sticks haven’t helped anyone win a medal in over 100 years.

Tug of War

Yes, THAT Tug of War that you played in elementary school gym and had rope burns on your hands for the rest of the day.

Sport Or Not A Sport?

Tug of War… is NOT an Olympic sport. But believe it or not, it definitely used to be! And it lasted longer than both Lacrosse and Golf, as it was a team event between 1900 and 1920. Tug of War in gym class would make so much more sense if we could’ve been building up to be Olympic athletes

Roller Hockey

When I hear Roller Hockey, I think first of all of children from the 1990s wearing neon kneepads playing on roller blades in a driveway with a net in front of a garage door. (I think this because that happened in my childhood.)

Then, I think second of Roller Derby, and surmise that there are sassy nicknames, lots of fishnets, and more than a little violence.

Upon further research, roller hockey is played by athletic adults on four-wheeled skates with sticks more resembling field hockey sticks. It seems legit enough to have sneaked into an Olympics or two.

Sport Or Not A Sport?

Roller Hockey is … not an Olympic a sport. But at was in 1992 in Barcelona, which is apt because it is the most 1992-sounding sport I can think of.

Water Skiing

Weird water sports are an Olympic favorite, and skiing is hugely popular in the winter games. Water skiing conjures images of synchronized human pyramids and music videos featuring The Go-Gos. Without checking, I would almost guarantee that it is not an Olympic sport because most sports don’t use things like engines.

Sport Or Not A Sport?

Water skiing is… not an Olympic sport. However, it WAS a “demonstration sport” at the 1972 games in Munich, which is way closer than I thought it was to being an Olympic sport. There was FIGURE SKIING.


Here are the things I know about cricket:

  • It’s like worse baseball.
  • Whenever my brother, who writes for an online outlet, does an article about the cricket tournaments in India he gets like a bazillion hits.
  • They play it in this one episode of Road to Avonlea, an early 90s CBC show about Canadian children from the 1800s.
  • It’s not croquet, which is different.
  • They play it in Great Britain and India, mostly.
  • Named after a friendly bug.
Sport or not a sport? 

Cricket is…. not an Olympic sport.

It was featured in the 1900 Olympic games, cricket proponents would like to bring it back, but cricket hasn’t been an Olympic sport for over a century.

Canoe Sprint

Canoeing – kayaking’s chilled-out older brother – can get fairly intense. It can involve small teams, like a bobsled race. There can be a cool outdoor venue and inspirational athletes who have competed since childhood. All of that points to sport.

My Google research tells me that canoe sprint can actually involve canoes OR kayaks, and is conducted on smooth water. It kind of resembles smaller-scale rowing.

Sport Or Not A Sport?

Canoe sprint … IS an Olympic sport! An Olympic Sport taking place next week. It actually looks really athletic and fun and is one of the last remaining sports that I can pretend that I could still take up.


Is Flonkerton even a word?

Sport Or Not A Sport?

Flonkerton … is NOT an Olympic sport! It’s not even a real sport! It’s a fake sport from the fake Office Olympics on The Office. And at the Opening Olympics, it kinda looked like they were playing Flonkerton!


2 thoughts on “Real or Not Real? Olympic Sports Edition

  1. Pingback: The Margaret Abbott Awards For Baffling Treatment of Female Olympians | Cookies + Sangria

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