Lesser Known Olympic Sports

Nick Swiatkowski, Staff Writer

The Olympics come around every two years, alternating between summer and winter. This time around it is the Summer Olympics hosted in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. There are 34 sports that are currently a part of the 2016 Summer Olympics. That number is not including the sports with multiple different events such as volleyball or tennis. Of those 34, there are some that are lesser known.

In Judo, the athletes are called Judokas. A Judoka is someone who is an expert or master at the sport of Judo. In Olympic Judo, two Judokas are pitted against each other on the mat. Both athletes have the same objective to throw their opponent on to the mat, landing on their back. Depending on the strength, speed, and control of the throw, it can win a match. If you aren’t awarded an ippon or win, you’re objective is then to attempt to hold your opponent on their back for 20 seconds to be awarded the ippon. A match can also be one by submission or making your opponent quit.

Points can be won by a throw, a pin, a choke out, or an armlock. The Judoka with the most points at the end wins. Judo is a battle of strength, skill, and mental fortitude. It is basically a gladiator battle with two men or two women fighting to throw the other onto their back with such ferocity that the opponent doesn’t have the will power to get back up.

One Judoka to look out for is Majlinda Kelmendi of Kosovo. This is Kosovo’s first Olympics as an independent country. Kelmendi is the 2nd ranked in the world for her weight class for 52kg and being one of the strongest contenders  for gold she won it this year. Also look out for Popole Misenga and Yolanda Mabik, they are two Congo-born Judokas and refugees. They are competing for the Refugee Olympic team, which is a team of world refugees competing together as if they were a country.

If you have ever had a teacher that didnt let you out of class to use the bathroom, but you really had to go, you know what Race walkers look like. Race walking is exactly what is sounds like but competing looks like someone is walking at a very fast pace to the bathroom. In fact race walkers get to speeds of 13 miles per hours on average. They have a specific set of rules that makes it this way. Athletes must keep their front leg straight until the foot passes under the knee. One foot must also visibly be on the floor.  If both feet are in the air, this is called flight time. There are two chances for flight time, on the third an athlete is disqualified. 1 out of 8 are kicked out of a race. This rule is known as race walking golden rule or rule 230.2. This wouldn’t seem like it would be action packed but in the beginning and ending it can be. Its a test of endurance as well with Women going 20km or 12.5 miles and men going 50km of 31 miles. The world record for 50km Race walking is 3:32:33 which is about 30 minutes faster then the average marathon time for men in the United states.

This is sport dominated by the Russian. The top two atheletes are Olga Kaniskaina and Elena Lashmanova, who have both won gold in the Olympics.