You are here

The Most Badass Olympic Sports, According to Men's Fitness Readers

We asked our Twitter followers to rank the coolest, most undeniably ass-kicking sports being contested at the 2016 Games in Rio. Here's what they said.
Clockwise from top left: Perrry Baker (rugby), Michael Phelps (swimming), Jake Dalton (gymnastics), Ashton Eaton (decathlon)

Whenever the Olympics come around, there's always a lot of talk about how the great games bring people from all nations together as the shining examples of our best virtues. And they have a point: The U.S. men's gymnastics team is pretty freaking ripped.

But let's be honest: At their core, the Summer Games are all about pitting the best of the best against each other, no holds barred, and seeing who comes out on top. The winners get gold. The others... don't. (Side note: This happens to coincide with the once-every-four-years ritual of grown-ass men in sports bars arguing with complete strangers over women's gymnastics.)

And because it's not enough to simply compete within Olympic sports, we're asking: Which is really the most badass Olympic sport? Not most demanding, necessarily, or the most physical, or even the most weapons-intensive (we see you, modern pentathlon). So we decided to settle the argument the old-fashioned way: a traditional knockout bracket.

First up was the group stage: 32 Olympic sports, seeded alphabetically into eight groups, from Group A to Group H. From there, we pitted the eight winners against each other in two semifinal rounds of four sports each. Those winners then went head-to-head in the final to determine the ultimate champion.

We did, unfortunately, have to exclude one sport to keep the rankings at an even 32 sports: equestrian. We acknowledge that this is probably unfair to the world's equestrian aficionados. (But to be perfectly honest, equestrians, if you really wanted to kick up the badass factor a notch, your could pick up lances. Or at least not compete in sport coats.)

Here goes:


The Group Stages

Group A


Group B


Group C


Group D


Group E


Group F


Group G


Group H


Next up: Group stage results, and on to the semifinals!



Want more Men's Fitness?

Sign Up for our newsletters now.