Hooked on vault
I don't care about the stories of teenage girls who gave up their whole life for a few moments wearing a sparkly outfit and smiling for millions on TV. But I do care about the athletics.
And that's why this year I'm addicted to the women's vault. If it's not the most athletically challenging Olympic sport, it's the most underrated.
First is a sprint, then a roundoff onto a springboard, then a dive onto the horse, then twists and flips that rival divers. And some vaulters, such as McKayla Maroney, hit the horse backward.
Killer stuff even for those who don't medal. And all we laymen judge is: "Did they stick the landing?" Folks, that's the denouement.
Struck by archery
Beyond every high-profile event, there's badminton, table tennis — and archery. Until Sunday, I didn't think I'd ever find myself watching or being fascinated by archery, even at the Olympics.
Then I set my remote down and paused on it. Have you seen the size of the bows the archers use? They're practically as tall as the athletes holding them. They look bulky and difficult to lift and keep steady.
And yet, even with all the crazy-looking attachments, a bull's-eye isn't guaranteed. That's what makes the Games (and sports in general) great — witnessing the truly spectacular, mixed with the fun and unexpected.
Table tennis, anyone?
Los Angeles Times
You dabbled in table tennis (read: pingpong) during your formative years, say high school or college, and you probably were terrible at it.
But Olympic table tennis is where you could've been if you devoted yourself beyond adolescence — and yes, became about a trillion times better.
You, an Olympian. Has a nice ring to it, yeah?
Table tennis is the most awesome Olympic sport, and not just because the wildly entertaining back-and-forth rallies and speed-of-light pace make it the most fun to watch. It is most awesome because it somehow doesn't seem that far out of reach for us average folks, us non-athletic specimens who play it.
Even if it is.
Diving in sync
Tuesday I found myself spending 20 minutes with a sport I'd never watched before. How often can you say that? Hello, synchronized diving.
It's unlikely you could convince me to step to the edge of the platform, much less somersault and twist off one just feet from another person.
The Canadian coaches appeared ecstatic after nearly every dive during the women's 10-meter platform competition, and I don't blame them. The precision these women displayed was unreal as they spun in unison in midair, then plunged into the pool, creating only the slightest blips in the water.
I was impressed enough to wonder: To what other Olympic sports can we add a synchronized option?Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun