The Old Snowshoe.

Source: Wikipedia

In just a few years Curling, which had its modern debut at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, after originally being part of the 1924 Winter Olympics, went from an obscure sport understood only by Canadians to a popular phenomenon with men’s teams, women’s teams, and mixed doubles teams playing in tournaments worldwide and still only understood by Canadians. With this remarkable success many Olympic watchers have been asking, what will be the next big breakout sport? The most obvious place to look is back at events that were once part of the Olympics but that have since been discontinued. Here are some of the top contenders:

  1. Bandy

Best described as “hockey with a ball” the game of Bandy is definitely one that’s been bandied about.

Pros-

Already played as a demonstration sport at the 1952 Winter Olympics

Very similar to hockey

Popular in Scandinavian countries

Cons-

Very similar to hockey

Popular in Scandinavian countries

Did I mention it’s similar to hockey?

  1. Skijoring

Also known as “ski driving” Skijoring is, well, water-skiing on snow, with a single skier pulled by a horse, a dog team, or a motorized vehicle. It may be a speed race or may involve jumps and tricks.

Pros-

 This has a high degree of difficulty as the skier must maintain their balance while being pulled, which makes it exciting to watch.

It has a long history among the native Sami people of Norway.

The Summer Olympics have Equestrian events and this would be a good parallel.

Cons-

The Olympics have kind of an image problem and horses, or even dogs, on snow and ice could potentially put the animals in danger

The motorized version is basically what your cousin Larry did in the backyard that one winter with a brick on the pedal of his go-kart and, well, your aunt complains about the doctor bills to this day.

  1. Synchronized Skating

It’s exactly what it says, but, unlike synchronized diving, Synchronized Skating can have teams of up to twenty people all working in unison.

Pros-

That many people on ice working together has a big wow factor.

Similar events, although showier, are already often part of the opening ceremonies.

Cons-

That many people on sharp blades on ice moving together seriously raises the odds that someone’s going to get cut and bleed all over the ice. Also a “pro”.

  1. Ski Ballet

Ballet on skis. It’s the sort of thing you pretty much have to see.

Pros-

No matter what you think of ballet it has an athletic quality, requiring both endurance and control.

Cons-

Judging artistic events is subjective and therefore always controversial, and given the issues around ice skating it’s not surprising the IOC doesn’t want to add another one to the mix.

  1. Snowshoeing

Also known as “snowshoe running” this is a speed event that involves running in shoes specially designed for crossing snow.

Pros-

Currently part of the Winter Special Olympics

The difficulty can be appreciated by anyone who’s ever run, or just walked, in snow.

The World Snowshoe Federation has their own magazine. No, really!

Cons-

Kind of at a loss here. Seriously, this is amazing. Even with specially designed shoes crossing snow at high speed is an impressive feat. The only con here is that Snowshoeing isn’t a major Olympic event.

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8 Comments

  1. markbialczak

    If the folks who live around me had their way, Chris, Cornhole would become the next Olympic sport. OK, I’ll admit, I own a set thanks to a great Christmas gift from my dear wife, and enjoy tossing the beanbag through the hole in the wooden board down the other end of our backyard …

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Cornhole does sound like it would be a great addition to the Olympics. It would be a hoot to see you qualify for the Olympic team, Mark.

      Reply
  2. pinklightsabre

    Snowshoe running. Just wish they’d combine competitive drinking with that somehow.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I think you’re on to something. I’m sure there’s quite a bit of competitive drinking in the Olympic village already, and adding it to snowshoe running, or even other events, would make them a lot more interesting. Especially ice skating.

      Reply
  3. ANN J KOPLOW

    Thanks for the Olympian effort it must have taken to put together this gold medal post, Chris. I bandied about for another possible comment, but this one will have to stand.
    ANN J KOPLOW recently posted…Day 3323: I’m big enough to have optionsMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      All your comments are gold medal-worthy, Ann, so feel free to take the podium. Podium? I hardly knew ’em!

      Reply
  4. mydangblog

    I’d pay good money to see someone skiing while being towed by a snowmobile! And Ken and I curled together for many years–I also coached curling when I was a high school teacher. It’s my second favourite game to watch after rugby. Is it weird that I only like sports where the rules are virtually incomprehensible?

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      There’s nothing at all weird about only liking sports where the rules are virtually incomprehensible. In fact I think the incomprehensibility is what makes the games fun–which is why I used to enjoy playing cribbage, a game I’m pretty sure was invented by drunk people, with an old friend. But I’m still holding out for the snowshoe running just because I keep picturing those big old-fashioned snow shoes Grizzly Adams wore.

      Reply

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