Olympics: 10 sports we want to see more on television

The Olympics. We absolutely loved it. But now it's over, leaving us with countless glorious memories.

For the athletes there will be some who retire after reaching the pinnacle of their careers. Most though will carry on- and their sports will remain as competitive as ever, but the travesty is that when it comes to exposure in their country most of them remain marginalised.

Former MP John Prescott, Piers Morgan, and Tim Lovejoy all called on Twitter over the weekend for the BBC to bring back their once flagship Saturday sports show, 'Grandstand', which was dropped after 49 years in 2007. That is a campaign we'd back all day.

Whichever the platform, giving extra exposure to less mainstream sports should be a priority given the success of the Games. After all, they don't just exist once every four years.

Here are 10 we would like to see more of:

Track cycling

The success enjoyed in the velodrome in 2008 was almost unprecedented. There had to be some sort of comedown, didn't there? Not at all, Great Britain bossed the track at 2012 once again, and Sir Chris Hoy overtook Steve Redgrave's medal haul to confirm himself as the nation's greatest ever Olympian. Jason Kenny was supreme in the sprint, Victoria Pendleton in the keirin, and Laura Trott won double gold thanks to her spectacular omnium triumph. But how many times did the commentators refer back to the previous World Championships in the build-up? Too many to count, and it is a great shame they were not made more of. When they next come around, a major broadcaster should be quick to get onto the rights. We celebrate the Athletics World Championships, and as our most successful sport, more effort to bring it to the masses with regularity should be made.


Who can forget Jade Jones' spectacular celebration after winning Taekwondo Gold? Only 19, it was amazing to see. The sport itself only began at the end of week two, and it was a welcome change from boxing. Unlike boxing, the scoring is non-controversial, more a matter of fact, and clearer for audiences to understand. With the differing amount of points available for varying attacks, fights are rarely out of reach for the trailing fighter.


Rowing is Britain's most consistent sport in terms of success, we even won a gold medal in it in 1996! The sunlight shining off the water at Eton Dorney lake early in the morning in front of packed crowds was truly spectacular, while John Inverdale and Steve Redgrave did a fine job with their coverage. The real stars were the athletes, with Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins getting GB's first Gold in the bag. Like track cycling the World Championships are a big prestigious event in the rowing world, and we should be able to carry on viewing the adventures of our medal heroes on our screens.

Mountain Biking

This is an event which may have passed many by, by virtue of it's late presence in the schedule and lack of British success. Even so it was a great watch, with a truly superb course testing the riders in Hadleigh Farm, Essex. The events are still available to watch on the BBC iPlayer and well worth checking out. Full of obstacles, jumps of varying challenge and reward - safe option or easy option - it was not always simple for the riders. Mountain biking is great fun even though many see it as a leisure activity rather than a sport, watching the competitive nature of this will change all that.

Canoe Sprint

Two Golds in two Olympic games for Britain's canoeists, with Ed McKeever following up Tim Brabants' Beijing success, this time in the 200 metre sprint rather than 1,000. Watching the speed of his arms as he propelled himself ahead of his opposition was quite an amazing feat. The time over 200 metres may be a good 20 seconds slower than Usain Bolt, but it is every bit as impressive a feat.

Women's Boxing

For most people in the UK, this Olympic games was their first exposure to Women's Boxing. It didn't disappoint. We won Gold through Nicola Adams, and Katie Taylor triumphed for Ireland, in front of thousands of vociferous fans. From a spectator point of view, it was better to watch than the men's, with fighters full of clean combination punches, quick on their feet, and less of the grapple-fest which has made certain divisions of men's boxing, professional and to a lesser extent amateur, more difficult to watch.


The best description heard of the BMX at the Games was the likening of it to Mario Kart. Crazy jumps, crazy crashes, and a spectacular course. It was disappointing for Britain that Shanaze Reade could not convert in the final, but the sport has won a whole new legion of fans. One thing which did disappoint was the final itself, as one race instead of a series-of-three like the semis and heats, should this be corrected it would only improve it as a spectacle.


Here's a sport with goals and nets at either end, and a ball, and Britain are genuinely the third and fourth best in the world in the men's and women's games. And don't mention the joke which is the football FIFA World rankings. The lack of television coverage for such a sport in which the country is so successful is a real crying shame for those involved, who will be hoping London 2012 can be a turning point.


OK, so swimming was not so successful from a GB point of view, with just two bronzes and a silver. This is compared to the six medals, including two Gold achieved in Beijing. The disappointment was the huge pressure placed on Rebecca Adlington and lack of fresh talent. But forget all that for a moment, the action in the Aquatics Centre was a joy to watch, and there will be so many memories to take away. The startling performance of Chinese sensation Yu Shwien, the shock pulled off by Chad le Clos, and the incredible medal haul brought in by Michael Phelps who took his personal tally to an incredible 22 medals. With truly global stars, we should be enabled to see more of it.


In Great Britain we don't really get Handball, or haven't at least up until now. In Scandinavia it is one of the biggest sports, rivaling football, and those who watched it closely could see why. If it took you a while to get into it during the group stages, by time we reached the knockout stages, the intensity of the competition jumped up a notch. The exposure of the sport at these games has potentially been huge for GB Handball, relative novices, and who knows we may compete one day. If we did, it would become compelling to watch. Perhaps a documentary focusing on GB Handball's attempt to grow would work, or simply showing the best of the world competing again, and letting us savour it rather than waiting four years.

Which sports do you want to see more of?

image: © thedcms