It’s always hard for a sport that is not the original version to make a name for itself, and to be honest, this is no exception. It probably reached its peak in Sydney, where it was a crowd pleaser, and in 2016 Rio was custom made for the event, despite the weather. But you can’t help but feel that the novelty value has started to wear off after six Olympics, and it is being seen in some quarters (me) as one of those sports that probably doesn’t need to be there. Sorry pervs.
Another sport that will be getting wall to wall coverage throughout the afternoon and evening for the full 15 days of the competition. You’ll be able to watch the Gold Medal matches over lunch.
After many controversies over the years, Olympic Boxing remains a strange beast. For reasons known to absolutely nobody, professionals were allowed to compete in Rio, although few did, and they weren’t great. But it was a change that went completely against the fundamental principles of Olympic boxing and certainly alienated a few within its ranks. More importantly, it soon became clear that few professionals would be keen to jeopardise their career by losing to an amateur, so you’d have to wonder why the move was being made to start with. Once boxing was a cornerstone of the Games. Now, it is – dare I say – on the ropes.
Perfect viewing time here – you can watch the bulk of the finals on Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th August from 5pm to 7pm.
One of the viewer’s surprise packets over the course of the last few Olympics. Easy to follow, it is a race to the bottom of the run that displays incredible agility, timing and strength. Most New Zealand eyes will again be on Luuka Jones, who secured a Silver Medal at Rio while up against a top quality field. This should prove to be another excellent watch again, but it does appear early in the competition, so keep your eyes open.
Just the six days of competition, with perfect viewing times. Think 5pm to 8pm.
This is an event that has really captured the New Zealand imagination thanks to Lisa Carrington, who will be aiming to become the first person from her country capture three successive Olympic Gold Medals in the same sport. It is a gruelling schedule, with heats, quarters, semis and finals effectively crammed into two days, so it is not for the faint-hearted. That can only add to the spectacle, and being another compact event is always a bonus.
Viewing times are great – 12.30pm to 4pm, with a bumper semis and finals day on Saturday 7th August.
Cycling – BMX Freestyle & BMX Racing
From the ridiculous to the sublime. In all reality, the last thing the Olympics needed was another sport reliant on judging, rather than the traditional faster, stronger, higher ethos. Leave the Freestyle at the X Games – which deserves to stand alone as a competition anyway – where it belongs, along with Skateboarding (but I’ll get to that later). On the other hand, BMX Racing has been one of the better new introductions to the calendar for the exact same reason. Chuck in the 8 metre drop to kick things off, and it is one event definitely worth the effort – two days of full-on action.
Tune in from 1pm to 3pm on the 29th and 30th July and you’re away.
Cycling – Mountain Bike
A sport that probably hasn’t quite captured the New Zealand public’s imagination, largely due to the fact that for most previous Games the timing has been awful over here. No excuses this time though, and with an elevation of 150 metres on the 4.1km course, there should be some excitement to be had. Especially as one section of the course has been named “Wasabi”. Short and sharp, there are just two days of events, and as it appears early in the calendar, it won’t be competing with the same level of noise it may have done had it appeared later in the schedule.
The Men’s race is on at 6pm on the 26th July, the Women’s on the following day.
Another sport that benefits from the fact that it is a compact event, early in the competition. Made up of the Men’s and Women’s Road Race and Time Trials, it is three solid days of action – and it is unlikely we will see a repeat of the idiotic fan activity that often mars the Tour de France. The course is somewhat more elevated than previous Games, so this will bring a new dimension, with climbing specialists more likely to feature at the pointy end.
Some more great timing over here – this is all about the afternoon, heading into the evening.
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