It’s no secret that the United States is the most decorated country when it comes to winning medals at the Summer Olympics, with the red, white and blue taking home more than 2,600 medals, the most of any country.
But believe it or not, there are some events the United States has never even medaled in at the Summer Olympics, despite the long history of the Games and the U.S. participation. That has not changed with the Tokyo Olympics.
Here are five events the United States is still looking to medal for the first time in.
A popular outdoor game for summer or graduation parties, this actually is an Olympic sport. Since becoming a part of the Summer Olympics in 1992, China has dominated the competition, winning 47 of the 121 medals handed out. Indonesia is next with 21 medals.
It might be a relatively new sport, but why can’t the U.S. be good at this? If the popular backyard game of cornhole can have its own professional leagues, why can’t a U.S. prodigy in badminton step up and journey to an Olympic medal?
On the surface, this seems like a neat sport that would catch on in the United States. Essentially, it’s a cross between basketball and soccer. Seven players on each team dribble and pass the ball around with the intent of throwing the ball into the goal. But it’s something that hasn’t gained popularity in the U.S., which didn’t qualify a team for the Tokyo games. The last time the U.S. qualified for handball at the Olympics was in 1996. The best finish for the Americans was sixth in 1936.
3. Rhythmic gymnastics
Given the popularity of gymnastics, dance, and cheer in the United States, it’s somewhat surprising there hasn’t been an American medalist since the sport was introduced at the Olympics in 1984.
No American has ever finished higher than 11th at an Olympics. Rhythmic gymnastics is where competitors perform routines with an apparatus such as a hoop, ball, ribbon, rope or clubs. Eastern European nations have dominated this event, but it seems like only a matter of time before a young American sweeps the nation off its feet in this event, making history.
4. Table tennis
If only America had its real-life version of “Forrest Gump” to be a worldwide phenomenon in this sport. As it is, American success in this event at the Olympics seems like a fantasy, just like the movie. Only 12 nations have won medals in table tennis since it was introduced at the Seoul 1988 Games, with China winning more than half the total medals.
This seems like another sport where it’s only a matter of time before there is an American breakthrough on the medal stand. While China and Russia have dominated the sport since it officially became a part of the Olympics in 2000, who around the U.S. doesn’t love jumping on trampolines?
Have you seen all those halftime exhibitions at sporting events of people doing high-flying trampoline acts? Eventually, the popularity of trampolines should translate into Olympic success for the U.S. at some point, even though it didn’t in Tokyo.