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“…and may the odds be ever in your favor.”  The Olympic Games have begun in London, and though this cryptic send-off from the fictional Hunger Games series can be taken in a lighter tone for the actual games, the competition may be just as fierce.  These young adult novels have increased interest in a little known sport – Olympic sport – Archery.  You may not have known you could go for the gold in this expert field, and I’d like to showcase 4 other summer sports you should watch for the in Games this Summer (The Summer Olympics are more than swimming and gymnastics – though those are exciting!)

1. Judo

Judo - Wikimedia Commons

Judo – Wikimedia Commons

Judo is a modern martial art that originated in Japan – maybe one reason they dominate this sport, winning the most medals.  The aim is, in hand-to-hand combat, the throw one’s opponent to the ground.  This sport takes a lot of skill, and strength.   Expect lots of grunting, and wincing – on your part – as you hear the loser of the match slam to the ground.

2. Canoeing

Canoeing as well as kayaking will be present in these Olympics, and have been since 1936, actually.  There are two main competitions: slalom and sprint.   Slalom means the boats need to go through a sort of obstacle course – a series of gates – sometimes even backwards.  Watch for Russia and Germany to dominate these races.
3. Archery

I’m betting that archery will get more air time this year due to the Hunger Games mention, and because the United States has some stellar archers.  In all events, the distance from the archer to the target is 70 meters – to get an idea what kind of skill this takes, check out this video of Thai archer, Witthaya Tamwong (who will be competing this year!), attempting to shoot an apple (thankfully not off anyone’s head):

4. Field Hockey

The field hockey team events will be some of the first held at the games.  Both men and woman compete in this sport, and there will be 12 teams of each gender competing.  That’s a lot of people!  Athletes mostly hail from the UK, but the Indians are the ones to watch this year!
5. Sailing

Some rights reserved by KevinSaunders

Some rights reserved by KevinSaunders

Sailing is a huge event in the games, though, again, one of the least televised.  With London being the home of the games, you can bet that there is a lot of pride for this naval nation.  Many different types and sizes of boats race, and the games can be more dangerous than they look.  Gorgeous, huge sails allow for the countries’ colors to fly large.  Be sure to catch this glittering event, and watch for Greece, France, the US and England to come back and defend their standings from Beijing.

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