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Discuss: Bringing Home the Gold

Like many Americans, I love the Olympics.  I’ll watch anything from ping pong to water polo to archery to gymnastics.  I’m fascinated by the process, by the training regimens and by the fact that there are people out there who train every day of the year for the chance to compete in a sport that I don’t even know how to play. 

So here’s today’s topic, kind of a fun one: Which Olympic sport would you want to compete in, if you could choose any sport regardless of athletic ability?

There are so many sports that interest me: archery, swimming, beach volleyball; but if I had to choose a sport, it would be platform diving.  I like that the premise–jumping headfirst into a pool of water, 32ft below you–is slightly crazy.  I also like that it’s graceful and technical.  And I like that your success or failure is almost entirely up to you–not a teammate, not the weather conditions, not the call of the referee–just you.  

So how about you?  If you could excel at an Olympic event, which one would it be, and why?



  1. Parker - Boardroom Belles says:

    Volleyball or Tennis (Doubles) – there is nothing so gratifying as strategizing how you surprise your opponent and then twisting your body into execution or awaiting their blow with slitted eyes and a “I can take this” attitude. I also love that moment before the ball hits, when you are dribbling on your toes, sensing but not quite seeing your team mates next to you and trusting them to take the hit should it go in their zone.

    August 3, 2012/Reply
  2. Lucy in the Sky says:

    I would choose archery, so I would at least be able to feed myself and my family in the event of a cataclysmic end of the world scenario. Plus, I would feel like Gwynneth Paltrow in Emma when I did it, which would hopefully make endless repetitive practice more glamorous.

    August 3, 2012/Reply
  3. XF says:

    Former gymnast, so watching the Olympics always makes me nostalgic. But if I had to pick another sport, it would probably be either diving or swimming because, well, have you seen those boys?! God bless America.

    August 3, 2012/Reply
  4. t says:

    Uneven bars…it's as close as you can get to flying…

    August 3, 2012/Reply
  5. CynthiaW says:

    Marathon running – because when I'm running, my mind is blissfully clear and all my day-to-day worries just drop away. I'd love to be able to even finish a marathon – so winning one would be even more awesome.

    August 3, 2012/Reply
  6. JMK0316 says:

    Gymnastics. As much as I love tennis, it's an all-the-time sport, and thus as exciting as the Olympics are, it doesn't seem like a real “Olympic sport.” Swimming seems so exciting and powerful, but for me personally, swimming is a little like my daily run, just in water. So gymnastics it is. I danced when I was little, was a cheerleader when I was a little bit bigger, and have been a dedicated yogini since college, and watching the women's gymnastics competition always makes me start adding their little flourishes to to my motions, and imagine that I am preparing to execute a difficult tumbling pass or balance beam routine down a long hallway.

    August 3, 2012/Reply
  7. Mo says:

    Showjumping, so I could compete against the boys.

    Or really anything that would get me one of those $450 grey Nike jackets everyone is wearing on the medal podium. Want.

    August 3, 2012/Reply
  8. Erin M. says:

    Pole vaulting – it seems both ridiculously hard and fun! Here' take this pole, run as fast as you can, and hurl yourself into the air 🙂

    August 3, 2012/Reply
  9. Hill Mama says:

    I swam for years so that would be my first choice. It was my dream to go to the Olympics until I got to college. I really need to get to the pool more. I only go every couple months… but it make me proud I am usually the fastest person in the pool (even when I was 9 months pregnant).

    I would love to be a cyclist (road racing, not track). My brother is really into that and he has raced in some amazing places. However, the prices of the bikes are just staggering…

    I could not deal with a judged sport like gymnastics. Too subjective!

    August 3, 2012/Reply
  10. CynthiaW says:

    Ooh… I just thought of something. If we're including the Winter Olympics, it would be a toss-up between snowboarding and doing the ski jumps – I can't even DO either of those things, but it would be exhilarating to be awesome at either of those without having to go through the beginning falling-down-all-the-time phases.

    August 3, 2012/Reply
  11. thepoelog says:

    Trampoline. That's pretty close to flying. And fun.

    August 3, 2012/Reply
  12. Kate says:

    BADMINTON! Me and my best friend were gym class champs for several years running. It was an intense point of pride (I still have the framed certificate). When you're playing competitively, it's hard and a serious work out. I would love to find a place (indoors) to play in DC.

    August 3, 2012/Reply
  13. K says:

    Something involving horses. Training for any sport generally sounds really boring to me, but it would be so much more fun with an animal partner.

    August 3, 2012/Reply
  14. KC says:

    Alpine skiing.

    August 3, 2012/Reply
  15. Heather says:

    Definitely the marathon! There's so much history behind the marathon in the olympics, and it really requires both a strong body and a strong mind to just complete one, let alone win it on the international stage.

    August 3, 2012/Reply
  16. CynthiaW says:

    K – I thought about that too. Plus, if you compete in dressage, you can apparently do it just about forever. They have a Japanese competitor that is in his 70s.

    August 3, 2012/Reply
  17. espie says:

    I swam all the way through high school and watching the Olympics makes me nostalgic for swim competitions.
    Though I think if I were to choose another sport it would be water polo-such a fierce sport and a great way to foster close relationships with those dedicated to the same sport.

    …or cycling, I love the idea of being physically capable of just getting on a bike and going for miles and miles..

    August 3, 2012/Reply
  18. ANH Style says:

    I would have to choose the women's road race (cycling). I like endurance events involving cycling or running, and you get to see a lot of the city with people lining the streets the entire time!

    August 3, 2012/Reply
  19. Carrie says:

    Like many here, I was a swimmer up until college (but I knew I was never fast enough for a real career), but it's always been a passion. However, I think if I went with something else I'd go with fencing. Took a class in college and it was a ton of fun (not to mention swordplay was a great way to work out some stress). Only sabre fencing though…the other two are too girly.

    August 3, 2012/Reply
  20. LS says:

    No one says rowing, of course, but I did it competitively through high school and college. Watching the US women kick ass makes me want to get back into it!

    Besides rowing, I think I'd like to conquer platform diving as I'm afraid of heights, can't swim well, and couldn't dive if my life depended on it, hah.

    August 3, 2012/Reply
  21. Kat says:

    I love the water but have problems putting my face in it so I think I'd like sailing or rowing. Though I'd also like to feel like I'm flying so pole vault or trampoline are also compelling. I guess I'm just bored of living a life on land 🙂

    August 3, 2012/Reply
  22. EA says:

    I also grew up dancing. And I love swimming so I think I'd want to be a diver, either platform or springboard. It's not like synchronized swimming (which I think I'd hate) but there is still an artistic element. And I'm pretty awesome at body control. All those years of dancing make it easier for me to know which parts (arms, legs, toes, fingers) are where. Although I think the heights would freak me out at this age.

    Barring the water, I think dressage or shooting would be fun because, as mentioned, you can do those FOREVER. I guess I feel like I could still have a shot at the olympics if I took up shooting.

    August 3, 2012/Reply
  23. Brittany says:

    Because skill doesn't matter, I'd choose gymnastics! I was a not very good high school gymnast; the bars were my favorite event. I loved then and still love watching talented gymnasts fluidly rotate around the bars.

    August 3, 2012/Reply
  24. Erin says:

    I was just having this conversation the other day! Okay if we're going strictly summer olympics, then the sailing! Because then you would be really good at sailing, which is kind of a practical skill if you (like me) enjoy summertime, boats, water, and aspiring to own a boat.

    August 3, 2012/Reply
  25. Kate says:

    I am the size of the gymnasts (4'11″ and 95 lbs) but have always dreamed of being tall, so I would have to say something like volleyball or swimming. Most of those ladies are in the 6' + range and I would love to know what that feels like.

    August 3, 2012/Reply
  26. Alex says:

    My school in Australia had a pool so water ballet, diving and swimming were big parts of growing up (aside from all the other swimming that happens out of school growing up in Australia) so enough of that, we're dreaming here. I dream of Olympic gymnastics. The beam or the high and low bars were things I grew out of before I got sick of so some of that lurks undone in my subterranean yearnings. Cycling is much too enjoyable to ever take seriously.

    August 4, 2012/Reply
  27. Kim says:

    I was in training to become an Olympic archer and my dad is one of the top coaches inthe northeast region. I grew up spending every day doing something to make myself a better archer but ended up breaking my collar bone. With that, my dreams were shattered. I can't shoot anymore Without pain and huge mental anxiety. Watching the olympics is so hard because I always dreamed of being there and grew up shooting with the younger people who are shooting now. I can't help but cry sometimes when seeing athletes get emotional knowing how hard they have worked to get there.

    August 4, 2012/Reply
  28. Lexi says:

    The equestrian events are my favorite. I began riding when I was nine, and rode and competed throughout college! I love the show jumping the most, as that is what I did. Like a few people mentioned above, there is no age limit! There is a rider on the Canadian team who us 65 and this is his 10th Olympics!

    August 6, 2012/Reply