5 Obscure Olympic Pursuits

For some countries, Beijing is about judo, handball and badminton
By Paul Stinson,  Newser User
Posted Aug 7, 2008 3:58 PM CDT
A men's field hockey game is shown here between Pakistan and Great Britain. With India failing to qualify, the sport could be Pakistan's best hope of reaching the medalist's podium in Beijing.    (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Basketball, Speedo-wearing athletes and gymnastics floor routines might be the toast of NBC on this side of the ocean, but lesser-known Olympic disciplines will drive other nations to the edge of their collective seat, reports Time. Here are five:

  1. Badminton: Responsible for Indonesia's lone gold, the sport with 125-mph backhand smashes captivates much of Asia, especially China. 

  1. Shooting: Featuring live pigeons in the Paris 1900 games, the sport produced a 72-year-old Swedish medalist.
  2. Men's field hockey: The rivalry is fierce between the Netherlands and Germany, but don't count out 3-time gold-winner Pakistan.
  3. Handball: A Croatian favorite, it's a sped-up, literally hands-on approach to soccer.
  4. Judo: Pure gold for Japan, which has garnered 31 gold medals in the sport.