With the coming and going of the Sochi Winter Olympics this year, there is a renewed interest in the biggest sporting event in the world. It is now easier to watch Olympic events and there are various ways that you can get information about them. The problem with both the summer and winter Olympics is that they are crammed into a very short period. There are so many events happening all at the same time that you cannot follow all those that you like. Then there are also the events that a lot of people don’t know about.

If you would take the time to go through to look through all the events included in the Olympics, you would find some sports that might surprise you. Trampolining for example, is included as an event in the last summer Olympics. Why? There are other events that are equally obscure. Here are just some of those obscure sports:

Skeleton

Let’s start off with an obscure Winter Olympics event. With a weird name for a sport, Skeleton is sure to catch your interest. Competitors in skeleton dive head first on a track that’s frozen while riding a small sled that is smaller than their whole body. The game appeared in the 1928 and the 1948 games. Then it was brought back for the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City in 2002.

Curling

Curling is a lot like shuffleboard on ice and it is another obscure winter Olympic event to most people. In curling, players slide heavy stones across a frozen playing surface to a target area that is made up four concentric circles. Then they use brooms to brush the ice where the stone would slide through, in order to make the stones to “curl” or to turn to the spot where they want it to be placed. After the game, the placement of the stones would give out equivalent scores that will determine the winner of the game.

Handball

Yes, handball is actually an event in the summer Olympics. It is not very popular in the United States, but in other countries it is a common game. It is similar in some ways to both basketball and soccer. The team consisting of six outfield players and one goalkeeper would pass a ball around with the aim of throwing it into the goal of the opposing team’s goal. Handball is fast game with a lot of body contact, since players try to obstruct the opponent’s efforts to score a goal. The scoring is also relatively high in the game since it is common for a team to score 20 points. The game was first introduced in the Olympics in 1936.

Canoe Slalom

Canoe slalom deserves more attention than what it is getting right now. It is a sport that requires upper-body strength and exceptional stamina. It is one of those sports that have real life applications. It came from a period when travel through waterways was a hazardous venture. It’s not a game that was made just for the fun.

Racewalking

If you’ve seen a racewalking event on TV without knowing what it was, you might think that there is something wrong with the video or maybe the athletes are tired. Racewalking is actually a race where the participants are not allowed to run and to ensure that, they are required to keep one feet on the ground at all times. The result is that distinctive gait that some people find funny. Racewalking has been an Olympic event since 1904 though it has remained an obscure one. There are 20 km and 50 km races for men and a 20 km race for women.

Hammer Throw

In the hammer throw event, the participants throw a hammer as far as they can. In this case, they are not throwing the same hammers that a carpenter would use, but heavy metal spheres that are connected to a metal cable. The participant who throws the farthest would win the competition. The athlete starts out within a throwing circle and the sphere is placed on the ground. The athlete will then spin with the hammer up to four times and then release it.

Fencing

Fencing was very popular in the past. Fencing then was considered to be an essential skill for gentlemen and athletes. Gentlemen made a point of studying fencing as part of their pursuits. But now fencing is no longer part of the common pursuits of gentlemen and its use in the military has since become obsolete. It is still an Olympic event though. Fencing has been part of the modern Olympics since its beginning. The women’s event of the sport was included in 1924. Now, there are team and individual events. There are three types of weapons used in fencing. These are the saber, foil and epee.

Trampoline

When you think of trampolines, kids jumping up and down on yards is what would come to mind. Most people would not associate it with an Olympic event , so you might be surprised to know that since 2000 it has been an event in the summer Olympics. It falls under the family of gymnastics and like other gymnastic sports, the winner is determined by whoever has the highest score. Scores are given by judges on technique and the difficulty of the routine. It might seem like a lot of fun as a participant somersaults in the air, but it is a very serious business.

Water Polo

Watching water polo does not offer a lot of excitement. All the spectators could see without the aid of cameras a bunch of guys swimming around in a pool. You wouldn’t be able to tell which side is winning. But it is a very demanding sport on the player. Swimming alone is an intense exercise and then you have to add the task of playing polo underwater and that requires a great deal of strength, stamina and mental discipline.

Modern Pentathlon

In the ancient Olympics, the Pentathlon was considered to be the ultimate event. It was combination of the following five events: discus throwing, wrestling, long jump, javelin throwing and a short foot race. Pentathletes were considered to be the ultimate athletes and the most skilful of all since they would have to excel in all five. The event was revived in the early Summer Olympics, but has been discontinued after 1924. In 1912 a modernized version of pentathlon was introduced and it has stayed as an Olympic event since then.

The Modern Pentathlon is made up of show jumping on horseback, pistol shooting, epee fencing, freestyle swimming and a cross country run. The participants earn scores on how well they did on each competition and the one with the highest score wins. The events included in the Modern Pentathlon were chosen for their value in military service towards the late 19th century. Back then the cavalry was still a force to be reckoned with and hand to hand fighting were fencing which might come in handy as it was still likely to happen in the battlefield. Even though this event might be obscure, it doesn’t take away from the fact that participants in it have to be very well trained and not to mention well-rounded in order to compete in such a sport.