Reviews List of the Hardest Olympic Sports

Yahoo’s Fourth-Place Medal blog ordered every Olympic sport from least challenging to most challenging. We’d generally have to agree with a couple of blogger Chris Chase’s picks, but it’s clear he’s gunning more for humor than for accuracy. We thought we’d give Chase a hand by adding a second opinion to his list.

N/A — Diving, gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, synchronized swimming, trampoline: Chase chose not to rank these and brushes them off by comparing them to calligraphy. That’s just silly. If you screw up in soccer, you miss a goal. If you screw up in gymnastics, you fall 15 feet and land on your head. Gymnastics not only deserves a rank, but probably a spot in the top 10.

27. Table tennis – This event deserves to be on the lower end of the list because it’s one of the few events that the average citizen could complete. Granted, most of us wouldn’t score a single point, but at least we wouldn’t collapse in a sweaty heart attack halfway through.

26. Weightlifting – Second to last? Really? Lifting is one of the hardest sports out there because you either can or you can’t. It’s not like a 100 meter dash where it’s all about speed. Even slowpokes can finish a race. You don’t do things half way in power lifting. You either put 500 lbs over your head, or you don’t. Something that is physically impossible to do is the very definition of “hard.”

25. Beach volleyball – A lot of people consider beach volleyball to be a vacation activity, and the sand offers a built-in cushion for hard landings. Definitely not one of the hardest sports.

24. Shooting – As much as we love shooters, we kind of have to agree with Chase putting shooting relatively low on the list. Since it’s more about control and accuracy rather than endurance and strength, it’s not going to be placed higher than, say, the marathon.

23. Badminton – Well, it’s certainly more physical than table tennis.

22. Fencing – This is another sport that most average people could actually finish. We might have a few red marks on us by the end it, though.

21. Volleyball – It’s like beach volleyball, but with a harder ground. We can get behind this ranking.

20. Track – Not only is track probably the most quintessential Olympic sport, but it’s also one of the most physically demanding. Usain Bolt did 100m in 9.6 seconds. That translates into 10.4 meters per second on average. That’s faster than gravity (9.8 m/s2). Bolt literally runs faster than things fall (in the first second of freefall).

19. Cycling – As tough as cycling is, any sport that you can do while sitting down belongs on the lower side of the list.

18. Archery – Once again, we’d love it if we could justify placing a shooting competition higher on the list, but we begrudgingly agree with Chase here. It’s a sport that may be hard to win, but it’s not a sport that’s hard to do.

17. Tennis – Not a bad middle-of-the-road sport. It’s exhausting and it requires both speed and strength.

16 . Handball – This is a little high on the list, if you ask us. We’re not sure if this is closer to glorified dodgeball or watered-down rugby.

15. Field hockey – We know some hockey players who have some strong words to say about this sport.

14. Soccer – We like to rag on soccer here in the one country that just never really got onto the international soccer bandwagon. Still, this is a good spot for the sport. It requires all-around athleticism.

13. Basketball – Endurance, agility, accuracy, and quick thinking – everything you need in a classic sport.

12. Boxing; 11. Wrestling; 10. Taekwondo – We’d give any sport on the list a good effort. We might make it a few miles in a marathon, we’d probably do pretty well in the shooting competition, and we could finish a swimming race (in last place). These sports are a completely different matter. We’d probably make it about five seconds before tapping out due to excruciating pain or abject terror in an Olympic martial arts competition.

9. Judo – How is a sport where getting punched in the face is prohibited harder than a sport that actually includes face-punching?

8. Swimming – It’s like running, except that it’s harder to breathe. This sport definitely deserves a higher rank.

7. Rowing – Let us ask you this: Would you rather compete against Olympic rowers or an Olympic boxer? Yeah, we thought so.

6. Modern Pentathlon – Putting the modern pentathalon below the first or second slot is just silly. Expertise in five different sports demands that you are an incredibly well-rounded athlete.

5. Sailing – Once again, this is something that a lot of people consider to be a weekend activity that you do with a few beers and a couple of buddies. We’re not saying that Olympic sailing is easy, but the fifth hardest Olympic sport? C’mon.

4. Canoe/Kayak – Vacation!

3. Water polo – We’re not sure if we could tread water for as long as most water polo matches, let alone race people and shove other swimmers around. We’d probably need mouth-to-mouth by half-time.

2. Triathlon – This sport sometimes causes people to collapse because their bodies literally shut down. Yep, sounds pretty rough.

1. Equestrian – You think riding a horse is tough, Chase? Trying doing it while keeping your arm steady enough to shoot a target.

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