Love & Sex

Every Event at the Summer Olympics, Ranked by Sexiness

Pin it

Because the Olympics just aren't competitive enough.

The Nerve Institute for the Study of Sexiness tirelessly dedicates itself to the assessment of sexiness in all forms, and has recently completed an exhaustive analysis of the Summer Olympics. It's important to note that we're grading the events themselves, not their competitors. Also, bear in mind that the Institute is a very real and fully-accredited place of higher learning whose opinion is the closest the Universe will ever see to an Objective Truth.

38. Dressage
If the phrase “horse ballet” gets you going, you’re probably at the wrong website.

37. Assorted Throwing (Shotput, Discus, Javelin, Hammer)
Ah yes, the ancient art of just throwing something like, really, really far. These events could be improved by judging for accuracy instead of distance. Then it would at least have a kind of hunter-gatherer appeal to it.

36. Eventing
While this is a colloquial term for "having an orgasm" around the Institute, unfortunately, it’s just not that sexy.

35. Handball
This sport would be much sexier if it were the handball practiced against a cement wall. That “whap!” noise really revs our engine.

Zac Purchase Zac Purchase (front) and Mark Hunter of Great Britain compete in the Lightweight Men's Double Sculls Heat 1 at the Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park during Day 2 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 10, 2008 in Beijing, China.

34. Rowing
The only activity that removes all the mystery and allure of chanting the word, “Stroke!”

Jake Arnold Decathlete Jake Arnold competes in the pole vault event during day four of the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Trials at Hayward Field on June 30, 2008 in Eugene, Oregon.

33. Pole Vault
One of our female interns refers to dodging drunk guys at bars as “pole-vaulting.” That kind of makes it lose its luster.

Apolline Dreyfuss

32. Synchronized swimming
When has a group of people acting in unison ever been anything other than supremely creepy? Maybe the sport would be more attractive if every performance didn’t seem like it was proceeding a ritualistic sacrifice.

31. Shooting
People handling firearms should have no trouble being sexy, but the elaborate gear and goofy uniforms makes everyone look like those weird old guys you see hanging around your nephew’s laser tag party.

Ma Long of China competes during Men's Team Table Tennis first round match against team of Russia on Day 8 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on August 4, 2012 in London, England.

30. Table tennis
We’ve seen people do way hotter things with ping pong balls. Just saying.

29. Canoe/kayaking
Impossibly unsexy because saying “slalom” makes you sound like a dog that just ate some peanut butter.   

28. BMX
Very knobby knees.

27. Sailing
Unless you’re a pirate or Jay-Z, boats are not sexy.


Richard Lambourne Lloy Ball #1 and Richard Lambourne #5 of the United States react while taking on Russia during the semifinal volleyball game at the Capital Indoor Stadium on Day 14 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 22, 2008 in Beijing, China.

26. Volleyball (indoor)
Volleyball is only sexy when it’s played the way it was meant to be played: outside with the risk of heat stroke and getting sand in your pants.

Fun game to play around the office: Deadlift Face or O-Face?

24. Greco-Roman
Greco-Roman wrestling takes all the fun out of the sport by not allowing any holding beneath the waist. That’s like taking all the peanut butter out of a Reese’s.

23. Archery
Show of hands: who here thought Hawkeye was the hottest Avenger? No one? Exactly.

22. Badminton
Decidedly not sexy. Still, the sport is impressive for no other reason than the recent game-throwing scandal, which answered the age-old question, “Is it possible for badminton athletes to look more like a bunch of pansies?” with a resounding, “Yes. Yes it is.”

21. Fencing
The combination of thrusting and protective full-body armor just makes us think about what Mitt Romney’s wedding night must have looked like.

20. Mountain biking
The great outdoors are improved with many things: gentle guitar music, drugs, and incredibly toned legs barreling down mountains at high speeds.

19. Water polo
You’d think a more naked, wetter version of rugby would be sexier than the original product, but somehow the lack of athletes covered in dirt and grime just really kills the experience.

18. Judo
We just love being manhandled.

17. Triathlon
Insert “stamina” joke here.

16. Boxing
Way sexier than regular boxing, if only because the Olympics are the closest we’ll ever get to fulfilling our personal fantasy of faithfully recreating Punch-Out!!’s international cavalcade of stereotypes.

15. Trampoline
Competitive bouncing. It’s the Olympic event every teenager dreams of.

14. Tennis
Powerful enough to make Roger Federer seem sexy. 

13. Track and road cycling
The combination of aerodynamics and enormous quads reaps enormous dividends in sexiness.

12. Jumping
Whether it’s the triple-jump, the high jump, or the long jump, these human kangaroos are undeniably sexy. Wait, did we just make it weird?

Nesar Ahmad Bahave Mark Lopez of the United States (red) fights Nesar Ahmad Bahave of Afghanistan (blue) in the Men -68kg Preliminary Round of 16 held at the Beijing Science and Technology University Gymnasium during Day 13 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 21, 2008 in Beijing, China.

11. Taekwondo
You show me someone who’s not turned on by a person roundhouse kicking another person in the face and I’ll show you a filthy liar.

Fanny Rinne Kate Barber and Carrie Lingo of the United States fight for the ball against Fanny Rinne of Germany durng the women's hockey event at the Olympic Green Hockey Field during Day 6 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 14, 2008 in Beijing, China.

10. Field hockey
There’s just something about girls with clubs that really works for us.

[Whatever you do, don’t make some kind of joke about them being “9- second men” — Ed.]

Martin Berberyan Martin Berberyan of Armenia competes against Saeed Azarbayjani of Canada in their 60 kg freestyle wrestling event at the China Agriculture University Gymnasium on Day 11 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 19, 2008 in Beijing, China.

8. Freestyle wrestling
You know it’s sexy when the commentating sounds like someone narrating an absinthe-fueled night at a Turkish bathhouse.

7. Basketball
All the steamy action of the regular NBA, but with the jingoistic thrill of watching LeBron James stomp all over less-privileged countries.

6. Diving
If you watch it in soft focus, it’s almost like very graceful porn from tall heights.

5. Modern pentathlon
There’s something really primally sexy about being good at so many different rugged, outdoorsy skills.

4. Artistic Gymnastics
The less that’s said about the relative sexiness of a sport predominantly featuring adolescent girls from around the globe, the better. Moving on.

Ilka Semmler Sara Goller of Germany is blocked by Ilka Semmler of Germany during the Women's Beach Volleyball Round of 16 match between Germany and Germany on Day 7 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Horse Guards Parade on August 3, 2012 in London, England.

3. Volleyball (beach)
If you’re somehow able to watch beach volleyball without feeling a sense of shame, you are watching it incorrectly.

2. Rhythmic gymnastics
Really, what is sex if not a sort of rhythmic gymnastics?

1. Swimming
Despite Ryan Lochte's best efforts to literally become the literal human embodiment of a douchebag, there's just no getting around how insanely hot they all are. In our scientific estimation: LORDY.