Most Difficult Olympic Sport?

Profile picture of the author Adie by
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....
#off topic

  • 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
  • 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.

    GT
  • 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.
  • 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?
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • Profile picture of the author Kurt
    Originally Posted by Sumit Menon View Post



    Olympic Boxing refereeing is a joke! Too much politics involved at the AIBA. Guess that makes it more difficult! Otherwise boxing seems tough.
    I agree, just ask Evander Hollyfield.

    However, I left politics out when I made my choices. Plus, there's politics in the other events, as well.
  • Profile picture of the author Hopeless Bromantic
    Javelin catching.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Profile picture of the author Kurt
    Let's also toss water polo into the conversation...
  • 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...
  • Profile picture of the author Sumit Menon
    Originally Posted by Kurt View Post

    Let's also toss water polo into the conversation...
    Water Polo is just plain boring. So is Equestrian.

    And why is Handball even an Olympic sport?
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Profile picture of the author Kurt
    Originally Posted by Sumit Menon View Post

    Water Polo is just plain boring. So is Equestrian.

    And why is Handball even an Olympic sport?
    Watching a triathlon is also boring. The question wasn't the most exciting sport, but the most difficult.

    The endurance needed by water polo players is legendary. Add in the individual skills and team concepts needed to play the sport and it's a very tough sport to master.
  • Profile picture of the author hardraysnight
    Originally Posted by Sumit Menon View Post

    Water Polo is just plain boring. So is Equestrian.

    And why is Handball even an Olympic sport?
    but hockey requires fitness and ability

    i wonder who won
  • 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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