That’s a Sport? Top Ten Wackiest and Craziest Olympic Sports

Braden Schenck, Writer

While 2023 might be an off year for the Summer Olympic games, soon summer 2024 will be here and it will be time for the Paris Summer Olympics. The Olympics have been a staple in world competition since they were introduced in 1896 in Athens, Greece. What started with 10 sports has now increased to forty plus for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, and there have been some questionable calls over the last 50+ olympic games.


A shot being taken by Argentina in a 3 on 3 basketball contest at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo

10) 3-on-3 basketball

Introduced in 2020 for the Tokyo Summer Games, 3-on-3 basketball is exactly what it sounds like. Regular basketball has been part of the Olympic games since 1936, so the decision to change the game and introduce a 3-on-3 version was very questionable. While it was somewhat competitive, the games stood no chance when competing with actual basketball in the Olympic games 


A US Olympian surfing in the 2020 Summer Olympics Games in Tokyo

9) Surfing 

Surfing made its long-awaited, highly anticipated debut at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Competitive surfing, having been made more popular amongst viewers, has been introduced despite some questioning. Considering competitive surfing is unpredictable, where surfers travel to where the best waves are located at that time, surfing in the Olympics is interesting to include. However, the upbeat energy of the sport is welcomed by many in the Olympics. 


The United State competing in the speedy climbing event in Tokyo during the 2020 summer games

8) Rock Climbing

How in the world did Rock Climbing become an Olympic sport in 2020? Rock climbing has become a widespread phenomenon as its many levels allow for people of all ages to participate and test their upper-body skills. But who knew something so popular with the general population could become a fierce competition? Unlike the rock climbing walls that encompass indoor athletic parks, the rock climbing competitions in the Olympics require great strength and inhuman mobility and flexibility, naming it an incredible sport that will attract viewers.


A Cook Islands Olympian kayaking during the 2020 Summer games

7) Kayaking

Another seemingly and deceptively light-hearted summer activity found its way into the 1992 games in Barcelona. Like rock climbing and surfing, kayaking was a surprising addition to the games so viewers are very excited to continue watching how this unusual sport will change the fate of the Olympic games. 


Argentina and Portugal competition in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics Roller Hockey finals

6) Roller Hockey

If you want a fun alternative to ice hockey, try roller blade hockey! Argentina won the first and only gold medal in roller hockey in the 1992 games in England. It is like playing hockey with friends in the driveways on roller blades but people can do it professionally. This is another game that raises a few eyebrows of how it is considered a true sport, yet an Oympic sport. As rollerblading reached its peak popularity in the late 20th century, rollerblading has continued to make a mark in the games. 


Team Brazil competing in the summer Olympic Tug of War event

5) Tug of War

Perhaps even more popularized from the screening of shows like Squid Game, tug-of-war, while an unseeming discipline, acts as a fun and entertaining sport to watch! However, it is often compared to a head-to-head form of weightlifting to see each country’s strongest athletes try to take down another team. 


A break dancer competing in the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires last fall

4) Break Dancing

Breaking dancing, or the official name of “breaking”, might be breaking the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris! Being the only sport not yet exhibited at the games, the athletic artform is undoubtedly a wacky addition! 


An Olympic diver training in the plunge for distance event

3) Plunge for Distance

In a last minute effort to try to add a sport to the 1900 Olympics, the committee added the plunge for distance event, essentially bringing the long jump to the pool. In the sport, swimmers or plungers would dive in the pool and look to remain still for one minute while gliding down the swim line. The gold medal goes to the person who glides the farthest distance in the pool. And what is craziest of all is that only five competitors participated in the event, all of which were American plungers.


2) Club swinging

This strange sport is centered around the idea of juggling and maneuvering bowling pin-shaped clubs. Sounds like a citrus act right? Debuting in 1904 and then coming back for the 1932 games, club swinging was somehow classified as a sport. With the Americans dominating the medal leaderboard in both years in the club swinging event, it was soon replaced with the Rhythmic Gymnastics event to add some more grace and style to the sport.


Real picture of the hot air ballooning event in the 1900 Olympics in France.

1) Hot Air Ballooning

With only one appearance in the 1900 olympics, the world took to the sky as hot air balloons riders earned medals. With so many unanswered questions about how this is a sport and how you even judge a hot air balloon, somehow France took home the gold medal in probably the wackiest and craziest Olympic sport of all time. A lot has changed in 100+ years!