Most Difficult Olympic Sport?

by Adie 59 replies
What do you think is the most difficult Olympic sport (single or team competition)?
ESPN ranked boxing as the hardest and I think that's insane as everyone knows how to box.

For me, the most difficult (top 5) are (in order).

  1. Synchronized Swimming
  2. Gymnastics
  3. Synchronized Springboard Diving
  4. Modern Pentathlon
  5. Triathlon
Let us hear yours....
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    Gymnastics - the all-around events

    It's an extremely demanding regimen - which is why you don't see old gymnasts:p
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  • Profile picture of the author GT
    I would say the Triathlon because it is three disciplines in one and you have to do them back-to-back with no break.

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  • Profile picture of the author Kurt
    Decathlon, triathlon and boxing.

    Saying everyone knows how to box is like saying everyone knows how to dive into a pool because they can do a cannon ball.

    Going through a boxing tournament is very demanding. It's tough for a body to recover in a day or two to be ready for the next fight.
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    • Profile picture of the author Adie
      Originally Posted by Kurt View Post

      Decathlon, triathlon and boxing.

      Saying everyone knows how to box is like saying everyone knows how to dive into a pool because they can do a cannon ball.

      Going through a boxing tournament is very demanding. It's tough for a body to recover in a day or two to be ready for the next fight.
      Yes, it is hard ... physically.. but in Olympics you have the headgear.. and have your own ways on how to dodge...

      In gymnastic, one miss and you're dead or having broken limbs..
      Anything synchronized under water is difficult..

      Originally Posted by Kurt View Post

      For those that said pentathlon...Why is doing 5 events more difficult that doing 10, like in the decathlon?
      I missed that one
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      • Profile picture of the author Sumit Menon
        I'm going with all-around gymnastics too. I've never watched the triathlon.

        Originally Posted by Kurt View Post

        Decathlon, triathlon and boxing.

        Saying everyone knows how to box is like saying everyone knows how to dive into a pool because they can do a cannon ball.

        Going through a boxing tournament is very demanding. It's tough for a body to recover in a day or two to be ready for the next fight.
        Olympic Boxing refereeing is a joke! Too much politics involved at the AIBA. Guess that makes it more difficult! Otherwise boxing seems tough.
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      • Profile picture of the author Kurt
        Originally Posted by Adie View Post

        Yes, it is hard ... physically.. but in Olympics you have the headgear.. and have your own ways on how to dodge...

        In gymnastic, one miss and you're dead or having broken limbs..
        Anything synchronized under water is difficult..


        I would bet more people have died from boxing than gymnastics. If you get a cut in gymnastics, you get stitches. If you get a cut in boxing, it becomes a target.

        Granted, Olympic boxers wear head gear, the fact that they have to box again in a day or two offsets this, IMO.

        And boxing is mano y mano. In gynamistics and water sports, you practice your routine and do it in competition. All you are concerned with is yourself. There's no reaction involved.

        Like Mike Tyson said, "Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth."
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        • Profile picture of the author Dan Riffle
          Originally Posted by Kurt View Post

          <snip>In gynamistics and water sports, you practice your routine and do it in competition. All you are concerned with is yourself. There's no reaction involved.
          I think this helps prove the point for gymnastics being the most difficult. They practice their routines hundreds, if not thousands, of times and, yet, they still can't do them perfectly.

          If the discussion was "most physically grueling," boxing would be up there. I also agree that boxing is much more difficult than it's getting credit for in this thread.

          There's also the "Holy $#!&" factor to gymnastics. You can tell how difficult the sport is by the number of times the competitors flat out amaze you. At least for me it's rare for a boxer to do that, but every gymnast seems to do a minimum of one thing that nearly makes my head explode.
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          • Profile picture of the author Kurt
            Originally Posted by Dan Riffle View Post

            I think this helps prove the point for gymnastics being the most difficult. They practice their routines hundreds, if not thousands, of times and, yet, they still can't do them perfectly.

            If the discussion was "most physically grueling," boxing would be up there. I also agree that boxing is much more difficult than it's getting credit for in this thread.

            There's also the "Holy $#!&" factor to gymnastics. You can tell how difficult the sport is by the number of times the competitors flat out amaze you. At least for me it's rare for a boxer to do that, but every gymnast seems to do a minimum of one thing that nearly makes my head explode.
            Sorry, don't agree with this reasoning at all. Boxers practice punching and footwork fundamentals just as much as gymnasts do their routines, although I do admit that sometimes pure "physicality" can win in boxing, ie George Foreman.

            In boxing you have two things to worry about: Offense and defense.

            Also, I disagree wih the "wow factor" meaning a sport is more difficult. There's very little "wow" in the triathlon.
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            • Profile picture of the author Dan Riffle
              Originally Posted by Kurt View Post

              Sorry, don't agree with this reasoning at all. Boxers practice punching and footwork fundamentals just as much as gymnasts do their routines, although I do admit that sometimes pure "physicality" can win in boxing, ie George Foreman.

              In boxing you have two things to worry about: Offense and defense.

              Also, I disagree wih the "wow factor" meaning a sport is more difficult. There's very little "wow" in the triathlon.
              Fine. Boxers practice offense and defense. Gymnasts -- just using females here -- practice numerous events that involve numerous different skill sets. Vault, parallel bars, floor, balance beam. They can't fluff off any one event either if they want to be part of the world's elite.

              Regarding the wow factor, the entirety of a triathlon contains wow factor. However, it's based on amazing endurance, not technical skill. I guess that's what I'm looking for when analyzing a sport for difficulty.

              I could probably be convinced that the decathlon is more difficult than gymnastics, but I'm a little rusty on the sport. My opinion might change when they start airing the events.
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        • Profile picture of the author Adie
          Originally Posted by Kurt View Post

          I would bet more people have died from boxing than gymnastics. If you get a cut in gymnastics, you get stitches. If you get a cut in boxing, it becomes a target.

          Granted, Olympic boxers wear head gear, the fact that they have to box again in a day or two offsets this, IMO.

          And boxing is mano y mano. In gynamistics and water sports, you practice your routine and do it in competition. All you are concerned with is yourself. There's no reaction involved.

          Like Mike Tyson said, "Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth."
          I partly agree with you but we are talking about olympic boxing and not professional...
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  • Profile picture of the author Kurt
    For those that said pentathlon...Why is doing 5 events more difficult that doing 10, like in the decathlon?
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  • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
    Anyone that thinks boxing isn't hard, just try shadow boxing for three rounds. You'll get gassed big time. Now try it with someone beating you in the head and ribs and stomach 50 or 100 times a round. You'll learn the meaning of tough.

    By the way, that head gear doesn't stop your brain from bouncing off the inside of your skull. It still hurts or you wouldn't see people getting knocked out. Besides, the headgear doesn't protect your face, it mainly protects your temples.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kurt
    Let's also toss water polo into the conversation...
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  • Profile picture of the author thunderbird
    1. Rifle Prone: you have to be incredibly still and use a gun with the assistance of technology. If you aim it in the wrong direction, you could shoot yourself.
    2. Ping Pong: Very vigorous and dangerous sport. You could stumble and hit your head on the table.
    3. Beach Volleyball: It is risky, with a strong chance of bikini twist.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
    This is kind of funny. Once you make it to the Olympics you're one of the best in the world at whatever you do. You've trained your brains out. You're going up against the best amateurs (and paid athletes from some countries) in the world. It's all hard. Don't get me wrong, it's a legitimate debate, but I couldn't help but chuckle to myself when it crossed my mind that it's like debating whether it's better to start climbing a mountain with your left foot first, or your right foot.

    Carry on...
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    • Profile picture of the author Kurt
      Originally Posted by Dennis Gaskill View Post

      This is kind of funny. Once you make it to the Olympics you're one of the best in the world at whatever you do. You've trained your brains out. You're going up against the best amateurs (and paid athletes from some countries) in the world. It's all hard. Don't get me wrong, it's a legitimate debate, but I couldn't help but chuckle to myself when it crossed my mind that it's like debating whether it's better to start climbing a mountain with your left foot first, or your right foot.

      Carry on...
      And debates like this help make life a little more fun. It would be terribly boring if we could only discuss issues that were black and white.
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      • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
        Originally Posted by Kurt View Post

        And debates like this help make life a little more fun. It would be terribly boring if we could only discuss issues that were black and white.
        I agree. Besides, there aren't many issues that are black and white. It was just a random thought that popped into my head and amused me. I'm easily entertained.
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  • Profile picture of the author sidfromla
    Gymnastics All Around


    Horse , Bars , Floor exercises ........ they make it seem so easy
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  • Profile picture of the author Ericparke
    Originally Posted by Adie View Post

    What do you think is the most difficult Olympic sport (single or team competition)?
    ESPN ranked boxing as the hardest and I think that's insane as everyone knows how to box.

    For me, the most difficult (top 5) are (in order).

    1. Synchronized Swimming
    2. Gymnastics
    3. Synchronized Springboard Diving
    4. Modern Pentathlon
    5. Triathlon
    Let us hear yours....


    They all have the exact same level of difficulty. To be a the number 1 sportsmen in the world in any field is a lifetime of sacrifice
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Ten
    What about Judo?
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      I take exception to a comment above - equestrian is NOT boring to those who know how much skill and training goes into both horses and riders. It's poetry in motion.

      I think the olympic events that look almost effortless are often the hardest to master.
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  • Profile picture of the author nelspetty924
    I think synchronize swimming is the most difficult sport in Olympics among all because the players can't barely see their partner or team mate perhaps, so this requires complete focus in order to be synchronize.
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    • Profile picture of the author Adie
      Originally Posted by nelspetty924 View Post

      I think synchronize swimming is the most difficult sport in Olympics among all because the players can't barely see their partner or team mate perhaps, so this requires complete focus in order to be synchronize.
      That's what I am talking about... and they performing like what? 10, 15 minutes or even more?
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  • Profile picture of the author krialex
    I think the Triathlon
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  • Profile picture of the author Ninja Ana
    For me water polo.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dan Riffle
    Russian Roulette would be the most difficult to train for.
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  • Profile picture of the author Patrick13
    Id say boxing.
    If you cant run very fast you just come last no big drama.
    But if you cant box you get your head thumped in. lol
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  • Profile picture of the author HorseStall
    I have to say after watching the gymnastic feats, I'm truly amazed by the level of skill and danger.
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  • Profile picture of the author winiw
    everything is hard for a lazy guy !
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  • Profile picture of the author BloggingPro
    I'd say that gymnastics is probably one of the most difficult sports. I mean they are all difficult... that is why they are OLYMPIC sports.

    Sure you could argue race-walking isn't all that hard, but could you do what they do?

    I was watching a team rowing event the other night, and good lord those ladies and men are paddling like their life depends on it for what seems like the longest distance. Sure they are conditioned for it, but damn...

    BP
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  • Profile picture of the author keyideas8
    i think boxing and gymnastics....
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  • Profile picture of the author Adie
    I thought I should've rephrased my question to "Most difficult Olympic sport to learn".....
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  • Profile picture of the author danhenrique
    I also think it's Gymnastics, even though I play volleyball and know that it's one of the hardest sports to play. Believe me, it's not as simple as you watch on TV. haha.
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    • Profile picture of the author thunderbird
      Originally Posted by danhenrique View Post

      I also think it's Gymnastics, even though I play volleyball and know that it's one of the hardest sports to play. Believe me, it's not as simple as you watch on TV. haha.
      Aha! But, it is simple to make fun of beach volleyball. None of the Olympic sports are easy at that level of competition.
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  • Profile picture of the author Quickhelper
    I would vote for diving. They have to enter the water without splashing. How are you supposed to do 10 somersaults and not splash? Gimme a break. Thats ridiculous.
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  • Profile picture of the author AprilCT
    The most difficult Olympic sport is the one where the equipment is faulty. Like the pole vaulter whose stick broke into 3 pieces.
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    • Profile picture of the author mayday1985
      Weightlifting is the most difficult sport in Olympic and those needs in-game adjustments ability sports like fencing and ping-pong.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ericparke
    Weightlifting is hectic!!! One wrong move and you have the potential to break bones and totally dislocate limbs LOL
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  • Profile picture of the author jvyzsy
    I think you can't compare them, on that level, there are no easy ones, just insanely difficult because you have to be almost perfect in that sport(5-6 hours of training+few hours of mental training per day for years...).
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  • Profile picture of the author Charlotte Jay
    Equestrian is INCREDIBLY hard. I used to train in dressage and it's a hard discipline to master. You have to be one with your horse, give commands, and look like you're doing nothing. All at the same time.

    Gymnastics is hard, as are events like the decathlon and diving.
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  • Profile picture of the author NewAge29
    The Luge! You get strapped to a sled and point your toes. Very hard.
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    • Profile picture of the author asdfghjkl123
      I tried gymnastics from a young age for several years. Sure it was hard and pretty challenging. And I actually was good at it.
      I then tried equestrian. Gymnastics was nothing in comparison. I can't actually explain the incredible talent and skill you need to be an equestrian! Equestrians need to have concentration and ability to judge a distance like a golfer, the strength of a hockey player, the stamina of a marathon runner, and the artistic flow to make an exceptionally hard thing look easy and elegant like a ballerina.
      I don't thrash anyone's sport - everything is difficult and amazing in it's own unique way - but so many people thrash equestrian. You really don't understand the sport until you're a part of it.
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  • Profile picture of the author drewcpappas
    1. decathlon
    2. mens basketball you must play in the nba
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  • Profile picture of the author Joe Stewart
    I wasn't aware the Triathlon was an Olympic sport. Learn something new every day.

    Personally, I think you'd almost have to split this up into different categories. Different events take different levels of skill and stamina.

    As far as bodyweight strength goes, I think Gymnastics would win hands down. On the other hand, Weightlifting takes quite a bit of strength too, eh?

    I don't see events like the Decathlon even coming close because they have breaks between every event. Also, they're like a "jack of all trades, master of none". In most cases they wouldn't even medal in any of the individual events.

    I was just watching "Rocky 2" where "Mickey" (Burgess Meredith) was telling "Rocky" how he had to train 45,000 minutes over a 10 week stretch for a 45 minute (15 round) fight. That's a lot of work. There's no doubt that Boxing is also a tough sport - but, they get breaks in between rounds.

    My thoughts are that the Triathlon is by far the toughest.

    What does that consist of again? The Intermediate (or Standard) distance; commonly referred to as the "Olympic distance": 1.5 kilometers (0.93 miles) swim, 40 kilometers (25 miles) bike, 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) run. All of these are done in immediate succession.

    Triathlon - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    I'd put it between this and the Marathon.
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  • Profile picture of the author copymyideas
    The pole vault must be so difficult and a little scary,
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  • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
    When resurrecting two year old threads become an Olympic sport we'll have a lot of contenders here.
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  • Profile picture of the author thunderbird
    When I participated in the Olympics it was hard. I got so exhausted. It was so gruelling that I just plain quit, turned off the TV, and read a book instead.
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  • Profile picture of the author socialentry
    I'd think that gymnastics would require the most coordination and athleticism.

    But boxing by far is the toughest sport.
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  • Profile picture of the author bizgrower
    I know I find it difficult to learn and do anything requiring skills, the right movements,
    techniques, a lot of steps in a certain order, and a lot to things to remember. That
    would cover gymnastics, figure skating, martial arts, boxing...

    In terms of physical difficulty, I thought about my last more than minor injuries and how
    long it took to recuperate. Three days to feel up to par after getting a deep puncture
    wound in my hand from a large dog biting me. Months before my wrist did not hurt
    after breaking a fall.

    So, with respect to physical difficulty, I'd give it to the sports where recovering from wounds
    in addition to the physical exertion is part of the package. Boxing, hockey, gymnastics...
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  • Profile picture of the author st0nec0ld
    Triathlon and Synchronized Swimming

    I don't think I will be able to do Triathlon in my whole life.
    Synchronized swimming is one of my favorite sports because I love how they can swim and still managed to keep their poise.
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