The Olympics are unlike any other sporting event.
Hundreds of countries and thousands of athletes compete for the gold in more than 100 events.
Some of these events are can't miss, must see TV. Others, not so much.
You can't possibly know everything and every event going on at the 2012 London Games, but we do. To help you out, here is our viewer's guide to every sport at the 2012 games-- we ranked every Olympic sport in terms of watch-ability. Enjoy.
Watchability: Sleep-Inducing, actually coma-inducing.
Equestrian is by far the most boring event at the Olympics. Why would you ever want to watch this? The phrase I would rather watch paint dry accurately describes anyone unlucky enough to tune into Olympic Equestrian.
Watchability: Only if you have an immediate family member competing.
I can't believe this is actually still an Olympic event.
Watchability: Don't do it. No amount of Olympic Spirit can justify watching this.
Nobody really knows what "Modern Pentathlon" is, so I had to look it up. Turns out that it is an odd combination of events including Horseback riding, Shooting, Running and Swimming. I wonder if the Old Pentathlon was any better?
Watchability: Worse than boxing/MMA
If The Karate Kid is on, I would definitely go with Karate Kid over Taekwondo.
Watchability: 3 AM and NOTHING else is on.... Ok.
All the fighting events can get confusing. I think that Judo is a fusion of Taekwondo and Wrestling. Whatever it is, I'm not big on any of these events. Don't plan on tuning into this.
Watchability: If you want to feel weak, feeble and incapable, this is for you.
There is just something weird about watching Weightlifting.
Watchability: Well at least this wrestling isn't fake.
WWE is one of the worst inventions in the "sporting" world. I can't understand how people still watch when they know that its fake. Anyways, this is real Wrestling, but not nearly as many people will watch, which doesn't make any sense.
29. Hockey (AKA Field Hockey)
Watchability: 5th SportsCenter re-run.... Field Hockey... Toss Up
The Olympic people and NBC are trying to trick you into watching this. Don't let the name fool you, this is FIELD hockey, not regular hockey. They decided to just title it "Hockey" in hopes that people would believe that Hockey was both a summer and winter sport, I guess.
Watchability: Big Dancing With The Stars fan? This is the Olympic event for you.
This is the not cool version of Olympic Gymnastics. I think this is more or less glorified hula-hooping.
Watchability: Good Nap-Taking TV.
Sailing is an impressive hobby, that can get pretty intense when racing. The boats occasionally flip over, which is definitely exciting to watch. Still, Sailing is hard to follow on TV.
Watchability: Check the TV Guide for anything else.
Unless Pacquiao is fighting Mayweather I'm not watching.
25. Canoe Slalom
Watchability: Won't put you to sleep, nothing to get excited about either.
Watchability: Cool for a few seconds
The Trampoline event is definitely a blast from the past, for those of you (like me) who had a trampoline in the backyard at least. I am not a hillbilly I swear. The Olympic Trampoline is a lot cooler than the average backyard trampoline, and they do a lot cooler stuff. This is fun to watch for a little, but can get old. Plus, the whole idea that this is an Olympic Sport is a little bit questionable.
Watchability: Sunday afternoon... not doing much of anything... might as well have it on.
This is definitely an impressive athletic event that requires a diverse set of skills and crazy stamina, but it's long and hard to follow on TV. I've always wondered if they took time to dry off after swimming, or they just keep going.
Watchability: Not a bad choice for the - Have the TV on but not paying a whole lot of Attention - times.
Archery is impressive to watch, and would be very useful if wars were still fought with bow and arrow.
Watchability: TNT is showing Bourne marathon.... go with Bourne
Shooting is just Archery with better weapons.
20. Canoe Sprint
From what I can gather, this is basically Rowing with fewer people and a slightly different vessel. Good news is that it is a quick, fast paced race. Anything with "Sprint" in it is at least semi-watchable.
Watchability: The worst of the cycling events.
Mountain Biking? Seriously?
18. Cycling - BMX
Watchability: Like the X-Games... So Don't watch
I despise the X-Games. I hate them. They are the worst week of ESPN each and every year. The only thing that can challenge the X-Games are the Winter X-Games. And the Little League World Series. I don't understand how BMX biking is an Olympic event, yet Baseball and Softball are not. If anything, you should boycott this event to show displeasure.
17. Cycling - Road
Watchability: Didn't the Tour De France just happen? Did you watch that? No.
Road Cycling is only so bearable. The Tour De France is the premier road cycling event, and not very many people watch that. Road Cycling is hard to follow, it lasts a long time and they don't actually go fast until the end. I will watch the last 10 minutes of every Road Cycling event (if there are multiple ones?) but the first four hours I might miss. Don't get me wrong, it takes incredible stamina, but that doesn't mean it makes for good TV.
16. Cycling - Track
Watchability: Ok this isn't bad.. I can actually watch this if they only have it on once every four years.
Track Cycling is probably the coolest cycling event, because they are going a lot faster, their bikes look cooler and they wear sweet aerodynamic helmets and visors. And they crash more often. Plus, its easier to watch because they just go around in circles on a track.
Watchability: All the dives look equally impossible.
Let's face it, nobody watching can tell the difference between each dive. They all do an unfathomable amount of flips, twists and whatnot in the air. I don't know if the judges can even tell what they do. What we all can tell is how big of a splash they make when they land, which makes us all qualified to judge. Diving is pretty cool.
Watchability: This is one of those pretty cool I'll watch cause its the Olympics type things.
During the Olympics, events that would normally never come close to being on TV all of the sudden become quite fun to watch. Fencing is definitely one of those events.
Watchability: Is it just me or was that really exciting?
Rowing doesn't take long, is often competitive, it's easy to follow on TV and they are going relatively fast. All good TV qualities.
Watchability: Sign me up, as long as they look as good as Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liuken.
Like Beach Volleyball, Gymnastics have the dual Athletics and Aesthetics thing going for them. The gymnasts arn't wearing bikinis however, so that hurts their watchability. If the sport is trying to draw a wider audience, that wardrobe change could really help. Sadly, Americans Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson won't be on this year's Olympic team, but we can only hope that the new era of USA gymnastics is as good as the last.
Watchability: A lot better than an NBA regular season game.
If you are looking for intensity, keep the channel on Olympic Volleyball. This stuff is as intense as it gets. Almost every game, set and match are really close, so one or two points can make a big difference, and it always goes down to the wire. Not only are the matches close, but the athleticism is also pretty impressive. There's like three guys trying to spike/block every ball, and guys laying out in the back. It's intense.
10. Water Polo
Watchability: This is actually an impressive sport to watch.
Unlike Ping-Pong or Badminton, Water Polo actually requires a ton of athleticism. Coming form any regular Joe-Schmo, you might be hesitant to believe that Water Polo is really that hard. But I am no regular Joe-Schmo. I have actually participated in competitive (Intramural) Water Polo, and can personally vouch that this sport is no joke.
Watchability: Favorite show on? DVR it. Badminton is on.
Badminton is sweet to watch because it is usually such a chill sport, usually played lethargically amongst family members or retirees. Unlike your lazy Sunday Badminton games, Olympic Badminton is intense. The players grunt louder than Serena at Wimbledon and have crazy serving techniques. They lunge, jump, dive, layout and coolest of all, pelt each other with the birdee. I think that's what it is called at least. Whatever it is, you want to watch.
Watchability: Handball is take off work, skip class, etc type TV.
You probably played this in P.E. in High School, and it was a ton of fun. Now Olympic caliber athletes are playing. Even better. Handball is a weird mix of sports, but it comes together nicely. It has some elements of basketball, hockey, lacrosse and probably some others that I am leaving out. Imagine watching all of these sports at the same time. Pretty awesome, right?
7. Football (AKA Soccer)
Watchability: Well, it is soccer....
Soccer is kind of a tricky one, because there are a lot of factors that make it both watchable and unwatchable. It's the world's most popular sport, it has a lot of stars in the tournament, it's well established, etc. However a couple things also make it less attractive. First, it's soccer, and some people will flat out refuse to watch. Also, Soccer in the Olympics is no where close to as big as the World Cup, so this is kind of a second tier tournament.
6. Table Tennis (AKA Ping Pong)
Watchability: Edge of your seat TV
Tennis has a smaller, quicker, ADHD brother. And his name is Table Tennis. His friends call him Ping Pong. Watch him.
Watchability: Like Wimbledon, but better.
Tennis is already a pretty cool sport to watch, but in the Olympics everything becomes approximately 10 times more watchable. So Tennis is already good. Then take into account the fact that major stars (Federer, Roddick, Murray) are competing, and that they are playing at Wimbledon. This year's Tennis events will be sweet. If host Great Britain gets their way, Murray will keep the gold at home.
Watchability: Primetime, way better than anything else on TV.
This is at number four because if the U.S. isn't playing, there is absolutely no reason at all to watch. However when the Dream Team takes the court, all eyes should be glued to the TV.
Watchability: Plan your social, sleep and work calenders around watching this.
You have two things working in favor of watchability here: Athletics and Aesthetics. Like many Olympic sports, Beach Volleyball is pretty cool to watch just based on the entertaining nature of the sport. But then when you combine that with bikinis, you have TV gold.
2. Athletics (This group includes all Track and Field events)
Watchability: This is what the Olympics are all about. Must See TV.
There are some no-brainers here, like Usain Bolt in the 100 and 200 meter sprints. If you are looking for some lesser known TV gems, Power Walking is a can't miss. You will be laughing harder than you ever have before.
Watchability: Heart-Stopping, Breath-Taking, Jaw-Dropping, Hug strangers, DID YOU SEE THAT, Stop What You Are Doing and TURN ON THE TV.
If you watched in 2008, you know why this is number one.
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