A simpleton’s guide to the Olympics (Part two)

Following on from yesterday’s successful guide to Judo, Beach Volleyball and Rugby Sevens, here are today’s essential guide to three sports you previously didn’t care about.

Equestrian Dressage

Invented in France in 1832 by Jacques Saddle, Equestrian Dressage was originally known as Cheval de Ponce.

Dressage came to being due to a slight communication issue when Saddle’s boss said that he loved a bit of horse mince. That mistake led to the sport we have come to ignore today.

It took some time for it to be accepted into the Olympics due to it not really being a sport, just a bloke sitting on a horse whilst it dances. It appears to have had it’s breakthrough due to an administrative error when someone was applying for it to be on Pets Do The Funniest Things but accidentally sent the application to the IOC instead.

The rules are relatively straightforward. If you’ve seen the dance competition that John Travolta enters in Saturday Night Fever you’ve pretty much got it. Apart from it’s on a horse.


One to watch: Leroy from Fame on Red Rum is expected to impress.

Cycling Road Race

A cross between murderball and Logan’s Run, the aim is to try and survive until the end, avoiding all obstacles including trees, cobbles and fat men in flip flops.


Extra points are awarded for the most ridiculous outfit and for how many parts of your anatomy are visible through it. With those at the very top of the sport, it is sometimes possible to see what they had for lunch through their lycra.

Whilst individual strength and endurance are crucial in the 200km race, it may come as a surprise to find that it is a team sport with up to four members of the team being sacrificed to the selfie gods throughout the race to enable the chosen one to finish.

It is the one sport in the Olympics where the spectators are believed to be more important than the competitors, hence the reason they stand in the middle of the road like a bloody great roundabout.

The most dangerous sport in the Olympics, no wonder the riders are off their tits on drugs most of the time.

Top Tip: Pretend to be getting advice from your coach whilst hanging onto his car, he will drag you up the hill.

One to watch: The bloke in the vest and shorts with the selfie stick, he’s just round that corner, watch out…….


After being feared drowned in the Otterburn Hall boating lake at the age of five, I feel that I have a certain affinity with rowers.*

Great Britain has traditionally done very well at rowing due to us insisting on so many variations of it until we found one we could win. Single scull, quad scull, coxless pairs (stop sniggering) and eights are just some of the crazy names they dreamt up.

Overlooked by Christ The Redeemer, this year’s olympic rowing will be held on the beautiful Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas. Beautiful that is until you try and row a boat on it.

The competitors have complained that it is a bit breezy and a little too choppy for their tastes with the Serbians even jumping out of their boat due to feeling seasick.


I don’t like to be critical but I’ve seen bairns from Sunderland go out in the North Sea in a rubber dinghy. I think these rowers need to man up a bit.

One to watch: Due to the time the rowers expect to spend in the water rather than on top of it, Duncan Goodhew is expected to lead the British charge.

*I was trapped in the toilet not drowned in the lake.

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