Skip to main content

Ready to Rio? 2016 Olympic Sports to Watch

The 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, are on track to be the most talked about and anticipated in the past two decades—but not exactly for the right reasons.  With the looming threat of the Zika virus, super bacteria in the waters of Guanabara Bay, doping scandals, and half-finished stadiums and venues, an entire nation’s reputation is on the line.

Brazil’s one remaining salvation: Sport itself. Because no one cares if the roof isn’t finished when an athlete takes the field and utterly dominates.

Related Videos

Come tonight, clear your schedule, crack a beer, and root for your home team at the ultimate away game without list of 2016 Olympic sports to watch, ranked.

Here are the top ranked 2016 Olympic sports to watch.

10  Shooting

One of the original nine events at the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, shooting is as American as apple pie and just as familiar. With three categories including rifle, pistol, and shotgun, and multiple firing positions, admire theses sportsmen and women’s perfect aim and let shooting put a bang in your summer.

9  Sailing

Despite a potentially biologically hazardous body of water, Rio’s sailing events are set to cut a stylish swath through Guanabara Bay with the latest yachting designs and technology.  With six events for men and four for women, don’t miss your chance to see the US Sailing Team harness the wind and battle it out against sea and spray.

8  Badminton

This isn’t your backyard badminton! At the 2016 Rio Olympics, badminton is a fast-paced, small-spaced, game of skill and strength, making your backyard version seem sedate. Try not to strain your neck while whipping it back and forth in an effort to keep your eye on the ball, or in this case, the shuttlecock.

7  Canoe & Kayak Slalom

Nothing is more exciting than humans hurtling down man-made rapids on tiny boats built for maneuverability and speed.  Originally based on ski slalom, Olympic Canoeing and Kayaking became official in 1972 and we haven’t looked back.  At 250 meters, the course is short on time, but big on thrills.

6  Track & Field

From pole vault, to long jump, to hurdles, to shot put, Track & Field at the 2016 Olympics has it all.  Fast paced and ripe for photo-finishes, these events incite armchair coaches and critics alike.  Set your DVR for August 12th through the 21st to see some of the fastest men and women in the world duke it out for the title of World’s Greatest Track Star.

Related: For the First Time Ever, NBC is Sharing Olympic Footage

5  Table Tennis

Dominated by China, which holds the majority of Gold medals won for table tennis over the past two decades, this is not your grandma’s ping pong.  Olympic Table Tennis players are hardcore, with hand-eye coordination an archer would envy and an almost unmatched drive to win.  Tune it to see if the US Team can finally take the Chinese in 2016.

4  Swimming

Swimmers may very well be the ultimate athletes.  Unlike almost every other sport, swimmers compete in a medium (water) that is 784 times denser than air.  Every stroke is a masterpiece of muscle and coordination.  Michael Phelps, the 22-time Olympic Medalist, is once again headed to Rio for 2016.  Though his times are less impressive than before, he’s still on track to score a few more Gold, stroking what must surely be a sore spot for our toughest opponents, the Australians.

3 Diving

Most people would refuse to hurl themselves off a 33-foot platform all the while tucking, piking, and pointing their toes, but Olympic divers do it with only a little hesitation.  And sometimes, even in synchronization. Marvel at the moves these fearless athletes flaunt and feel free to do some armchair judging on the height and size of their splash.  Hint: the less the better. And to top it all off, who doesn’t love laughing at “diver face.”

2 Beach Volleyball

Sand, sun, and bronzed bodies, Beach Volleyball at the Rio Olympics is set to sport some of the best athletic eye candy of the games.  But don’t let these athletes’ beauty blind you, they’re tough as nails and won’t hesitate to take a mouth full of sand for a save.

1  Gymnastics

Whether it’s a woman flipping head over heels during a tumbling pass or a muscle-bound man holding his body perpendicular to the floor and suspended only by rings, Gymnastics is as athletically difficult as it is acrobatic and elegant. More importantly, it’s a thrill to watch and The Manual‘s top pick for can’t miss viewing. Follow along as the various competitors attempt to deny physics and fly, if only for a few moments.  And keep your eyes peeled for US all-around winner, Simone Biles, speculated to be the greatest female gymnast in the world and favored to win the women’s all-around competition.  She already has a move named after her and it’s a stunner.

The 2016 Rio Olympic Games begin with the opening ceremony tonight at 7:30 on NBC. 

Editors' Recommendations

Watch Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony Live Stream: Tune in NOW
USA olympics, olympic sports, weirdest Olympic sports

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics -- or perhaps it's more accurate to call it the 2021 Olympics, following the event's postponement last summer -- are officially on today, with the Opening Ceremony beginning at 6:55 a.m. ET/3.55 p.m. PT. If you want to watch the Olympics Opening Ceremony online (or re-watch it if you were still in bed), then you can do it by signing up for Peacock. Best of all? It doesn't cost a thing, and you can watch the biggest events of the Olympic Games as well. Read on to find out more.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony kicks off at 6:55 a.m. ET this morning. That's a little early, but the Tokyo Games are happening in Japan this year (if "Tokyo" wasn't a giveaway there) and there's obviously a bit of a time difference if you're in the United States, but the good news is that Peacock -- NBC's premium streaming service -- is running coverage of the main games on five dedicated channels all day.

Read more
The Tokyo Olympic Games Start TODAY — Sign up for Peacock to Watch

After an unfortunate COVID-related delay last year, the 2021 Tokyo Olympics (still officially the 2020 Tokyo Olympics) is finally upon us. The Games start today with the Opening Ceremony happening on Friday, so if you want to watch the Olympics live, now's the time to sign up for Peacock -- and it doesn't have to cost you a cent. Here's what you need to know.

The delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics don't officially kick off until this Friday when the Opening Ceremony takes place, but the Games are beginning a little earlier with softball and football happening Wednesday (today) and Thursday. All of the main Olympic events -- that is gymnastics along with track and field -- with the exception of men's basketball can be streamed with Peacock's free plan, meaning that once you sign up, you can stream the Tokyo Olympics live at no cost. To watch U.S. men's Olympic basketball, though, you'll have to sign up for the $5 per month Peacock Premium plan.

Read more
8 of the Weirdest Olympic Sports You Never Knew Existed
pistol shooting odd olympic games

We've all grown accustomed to the Olympic sports of swimming, figure skating, curling, gymnastics, and even ping pong, but there are quite a few events that you've probably never heard of that are sure to raise an eyebrow. Some were short-lived or discontinued long ago, while others will be proudly featured at PyeongChang 2018.

So, in celebration of the Olympic Winter Games (which runs February 9-25), let's take a closer look at some of the weirdest Olympic sports ever played.
Pigeon Shooting
Skeet shooting, 1984 Summer Olympics (Wikimedia/Public Domain)

Read more