Leading article: Here's to unusual Olympic sports


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The Independent Online

From the thrills and spills of the BMX track, to the submarine aggression of water polo, to the power and panache of women's boxing, let's hear it for the less conventional additions to the Olympic Games. Alongside the record-breaking achievements of Michael Phelps in the pool and Usain Bolt on the running track, London 2012 has proved, once again, that the more unusual sports are no less a part of the spectacle.

It helps, of course, that Britain's Shanaze Reade was in yesterday's BMX final. And that Nicola Adams and Jade Jones respectively punched and kicked their ways to gold in the flyweight boxing and 57kg taekwondo the day before. But it is not just Team GB's winning streak in some of the "newer" sports that makes the case. It is the dedication and skill, athleticism and craft, as evident in them as in their more traditional events.

Those that argue only for traditionalism at the Olympics must surely think again. The Games are at their best when they are at their most various, their most inclusive, and also their most fun. Synchronised swimming, handball and long-distance walking certainly help.

Roll on Rio 2016, then, which will introduce us all to kiteboarding. But what about netball? Or karate? Or skateboarding? We say, bring them on.