With all the Comic Con news floating around, many of us have forgotten that we’re now less than two weeks away from the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This year a record number of 206 countries are participating, with more sports added to the Games than ever before. New additions including golf and rugby sevens. The lead-up to the games have been met with some controversy however, with health concerns involving the Zika virus running rampant in Brazil, along with the pollution in Guanabara Bay.
With all the hullabaloo and negative feedback, it already seems like some athletes from various countries are pulling out of the Rio Games, mostly because of safety concerns. After all athletes are only human, but what if they weren’t? It makes us wonder what would happen if superheroes, who couldn't care less about some pesky mosquitos or bad air, were allowed to compete for the bronze, silver and gold medals.
In events like track and field, handball, table tennis, weightlifting and everything in between, we’re counting down the 16 heroes from comic books that would mop the floor with the competition if they ever competed in the Olympic Games. Any superhero is up for nomination here, whether they be from Marvel or DC. Also, we’re including both the Summer and Winter Games because some of these matched up so perfectly, we couldn’t resist. Sure, superheroes in the Olympic Games would be cruelly unfair, not to mention impossible, but we can dream.
Here are 16 Superheroes Who Would Make Great Olympic Athletes.
16 Iceman in Snowboarding
In the comics, Iceman possesses the power to significantly drop the temperature of any water vapor. Not only is he able to generate ice out of thin air, he is able to mold and shape it as he sees fit, including a railing beneath his feet that enables him to move along the slippery surface at lightning fast speeds. Seems to us that he would be a perfect candidate for snowboarding, since gliding along on snow and ice on a descending slope is something that Iceman has years of in experience in.
Snowboarding is a relatively new sport to the Olympics, first introduced in the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano, Japan. Since then, the popularity of snowboarding has exploded with folks like Shaun White pushing the boundaries and making us rethink what is possible with the sport. If anyone could push those boundaries further, it no doubt would be Iceman, who could manipulate the halfpipe to make a McTwist look like child’s play. Who better to rule the icy slopes than a guy that’s made out of ice?
15 Thor in the Hammer Throw
When it comes to kicking butt, the Asgardian God of Thunder knows one thing and one thing only: swinging around that hammer of his. Thor’s enchanted Mjolnir grants him the ability of flight and can even manipulate weather to rain thunder down upon his enemies’ heads. And even without that flash and pizzazz, Mjolnir can pack quite the wallop. Most of the Norse God’s attacks consist of him throwing the hammer to exact some much needed justice, after which it returns to him with a slight flick of wrist.
For a guy that throws around a hammer all day long, would there be any one more suited to participating in the hammer throw? With roots dating back to the 15th century, the contemporary event involves chucking a metal ball as far as an athlete can. A metal ball that is, mind you, 16 pounds in weight-- heavy to me or you, but a mere warm up for a Norse God. Thor would undoubtedly wipe the floor with the competition in this event, especially if he’s allowed to use his own hammer.
14 Beast Boy in Equestrian Events
A superpower most kids dream of having, Beast Boy has the ability to morph into any animal that exists, or any that he has seen an illustration of. That means he can even transform into an extinct dinosaur if wanted-- and he has. He’s demonstrated that it takes little to no effort to switch between a Tyrannosaurus Rex, an elephant, and a mouse. With this in mind, transforming himself into a horse that could take out all the Equestrian competitors in the Olympics should be a cake-walk.
Equestrianism is actually split into three separate events: Dressage, Eventing, and Jumping, all of which Beast Boy would probably destroy in. Dressage is described as “the highest expression of horse training,” and, fortunately for Beast Boy, no training is required. Eventing and Jumping consist of clearing obstacles and cross-country races, all of which is prime territory for a known superhero. The only drawback is that Beast Boy can be a bit of an immature jokester, and might get himself disqualified by tying a jockey’s shoelaces together.
13 Ant-Man in Table Tennis
Though different characters have taken up the mantle of Ant-Man throughout the years, like Hank Pym and Scott Lang, the superhero’s qualities have remained the same: the ability to morph into microscopic size. Through technology created by Pym, the Ant-Man costume bestows whoever wears it to turn tiny (or, as we’ve seen in Civil War, huge) and also the ability to communicate with ants. We don’t know how useful that second trait would be in a game of ping pong, but that first one would be quite the advantage.
Table tennis is essentially tennis but miniature, using paddles instead of rackets, and a ping pong ball instead of a tennis ball. While it might seem like a tiny version of the sport, it would appear like the real thing to Ant-Man, who could shrink down in size and actually move around on the table, or court depending on how you look at it. The suit also endows the user with super strength, so odds are most table tennis champions wouldn’t even be able to return a serve from this tiny Avenger.
12 Gambit in Handball
A mutant fan favorite from X-Men, Gambit is endowed with the ability to mentally create and manipulate pure kinetic energy however he wishes. In other words, he likes to blow stuff up. A simple inanimate object, his favorite being a deck of cards, could be a potential bomb in his hands, with enough energy to level a building. That kinetic chutzpah also gives Gambit a leg up in physical attributes including enhanced speed, reflexes and coordination, just the kind of traits one would need in handball.
The sport consists of two teams of seven who pass a ball using their hands with the object of throwing it into the opposite goal. While you might remember playing this a couple times in gym class, the sport has been part of the Olympic program since 1936, but took a hiatus until it was reintroduced in the 1976 Games. With excellent reflexes and coordination, Gambit would be a shoo-in’ to take the gold home for this fast-paced sport. Especially for the fact that he could just make the ball explode at any given moment.
11 Silver Surfer in Surfing
Let’s be honest, with all of the endless media at our fingertips, people don’t get fired up about the Olympics like they used to. Most are so busy shoving their faces into their smartphones that they’re probably unaware that the Summer Games are less than a few weeks away. The Olympic committee recognizes this problem, and as a solution to attract more viewers, sports that offer a focus on youth might be added to the 2020 Games in Tokyo, two of which will be surfing and skateboarding.
If surfing is indeed added to the roster of Olympic sports, who better to catch some tasty waves and look good doing it than the Silver Surfer? Endowed with powers like superhuman strength, agility and reflexes by the intergalactic tyrant Galactus, the Surfer has the power to travel at the speed of light using his shiny chrome board. And since he’s so used to traveling across the reaches of space, catching some waves on Earth should be no problem by comparison.
10 Luke Cage in Boxing
When it comes to the boxing category, a lot of superheroes were considered for the event. Superman could easily best any opponent, and we doubt anyone would have stood a chance against the Hulk, that is if he has enough patience to stay in a boxing ring for long enough without tearing it up. Ultimately, our final pick for who would look best in a pair of Olympian boxing gloves is none other than Power Man himself, Luke Cage.
Troubled with a violent past, Cage obtains superpowers in prison when he agrees to an experimental cell regeneration project. The results work better than expected, and Luke gains the power of, essentially, a mobile tank. His skin is highly durable, making it bullet-proof, stab-proof, flame-proof, and pretty much everything-proof. Along with his armored skin, he also superhuman strength, so Cage could dole out just as many punches as he could take without missing a beat. With a long history of fighting and scrapping under his belt, Cage is our pick to put in the ring to fight for the gold.
9 Batman in Judo
If Luke Cage would be the ideal boxer for his brawling credibility, it would only make sense that the athlete for judo would be superheroes’ greatest martial artist. While there are a lot of viable candidates for the aforementioned category, in the end we’re going with Batman, who has proven to have some serious skills when it comes to martial arts. True, the Dark Knight doesn’t possess any superhuman powers, rather he relies on his athletic expertise and hand-to-hand combat when taking out his enemies.
Judo is a form of unarmed combat, derived from jujitsu, that uses a series of takedowns and throws and is viewed as a modern martial art. Since Batman is frequently cited as one of DC’s greatest martial artists, he should have no problem pinning his opponents in this Olympic sport. The Dark Knight can dispatch entire squads of thugs in a blink of an eye, so just imagine what he can do in a mere one-on-one fight. Even though he’d be brawling with Olympians, the Caped Crusader should have no problem dispatching them with relative ease.
8 Leonardo in Fencing
Comics are filled with skilled swordfighters, but the one who can slice and dice just a hair better than all of the rest might just be the leader of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Leonardo. After coming into contact with radioactive ooze and gaining superpowers, the four turtles are taken under the wing of Master Splinter, a giant rat who teaches them martial arts. Of the four, the turtle that is the most disciplined with Splinter’s teachings is Leonardo, who is highly skilled in the guerilla warfare of ninjutsu.
It is said in the comics that Leonardo possesses superhuman level speed, agility, and strength, which would definitely come in handy in the sport of fencing. He’s also a master strategist, which means he could easily detect and counter almost any move from his opponent. Although Olympic fencing uses ‘Rapier-style’ swords rather than his signatures weapon of twin katanas, Leonardo’s expert swordplay skills would no doubt transfer over quite nicely.
7 Green Arrow and Hawkeye in Archery
Archery is all about accuracy, and no two superheroes are more accurate with a bow and arrow than Hawkeye and Green Arrow. We tried to decide who would edge out the other in a competition before eventually landing on the decision to just include them both. The Green Arrow claims that he can shoot off 29 arrows in a row in a minute. Now, for those of you who haven’t shot off arrows and don’t know how difficult that is, let us tell you, that’s fast.
On the other hand, we also have Hawkeye, who is not only a world class archer but a master acrobat and extraordinary fencer. With his marksman skills, Hawkeye can shoot down a moving target from miles away, a feat that would be impossible for most snipers. It’s hard to tell who would win if Oliver Queen and Cliff Barton every had to outshoot each other, but the one thing certain is that they would put a bullseye on the back of everyone else in the competition.
6 Storm in Sailing
Also known as yachting, sailboat racing dates way back to 1851, when it originated in the New York Yacht Club. Since then it has become a staple event of the Olympics, beginning with the birth of modern Olympics at the 1896 Games held in Athens, Greece. Equally matched boats race around the same course at the same time. The courses are designed to demonstrate many different sailing techniques like upwind, downwind, and reaching, based on wind factor. If only there was a superhero who could control the wind to their liking and get a leg up on the other racers...
That superhero would be the X-Men mutant Storm, who has the formidable skills of manipulating the weather and the ability to fly. She can control the atmosphere, allowing her to turn a calm sunny day into a devastating typhoon, or vice versa. If she was feeling really deviant, she could probably sink the other competitors dead in the water with some well-aimed waves. That’s probably not her style though, being a heroic X-Men and all. Odds are Storm would simply manipulate the weather patterns to kick her sail boat up a couple notches or two, easily besting everyone else who have to break their backs working the actual sails.
5 Squirrel Girl and Mr. Fantastic in Gymnastics
Like track and field, gymnastics is a competition with so many sub-categories of events that it will make your head spin. There’s vaulting, rings, floor exercise, pommel horse, rope climbing, club swinging, all-around team, all-around individual; the list goes on and on. To really sweep this category, we’re going to have to bring in not just one, but two superhero ringers who are flexible, durable, fast, and last but not least, stretchy: Squirrel Girl and Mister Fantastic.
Sure, Squirrel Girl’s main thing is that, well, she’s a squirrel. But along with the physical similarities to the small rodent, she also has superhuman strength as well as agility, giving her not only the perfect edge to jump between trees, but on balance beams at the Olympics. Sure, she can communicate with squirrels, but more importantly, she acts like one, making her naturally nimble enough to really go for the gold in anything involving jumping or balancing.
While Squirrel Girl is light and nimble, Mister Fantastic can take out the rest of the competition thanks to his power of elasticity. He can stretch himself into almost anything, including a ball, a hammer, or even a parachute. For the trampoline event that the Olympics might be adding in 2020, Mister Fantastic could just as easily be the trampoline. He would dominate in everything from vaulting to tumbling without breaking a sweat, because really, he can’t even break any bones.
4 Deadpool in the Biathlon
Okay, realistically we probably can’t see Deadpool willingly participating in the Olympics at all. He’s lazy, foul-mouthed, and would probably be a terrible role model for children. What mother is going to buy a box of Wheaties for their kids with this guy on the front? He’s not exactly what you would call a team player. However, if there was an event that might get the sarcastic, quipping anti-hero out of bed and into the competition, it would probably be the Biathlon, one of the few competitions involving firearms.
Combining cross-country skiing and rifle shooting, the biathlon has competitors ski down a trail system which is divided into either two or four shooting events. While we can’t see Mr. Pool as much of a skier--he’d probably rather eat a bowl of chimichangas-- he would probably light up at the idea of shooting at things for sport. And by shooting things for sport, we mean there’s a high probability that Deadpool might mistake target practice for shooting the other players.
3 Flash in Track Athletics
Although Superman has often been quoted as "faster than a speeding bullet," the absolute fastest superhero ever conceived is the Scarlet Speedster: Barry Allen aka the Flash. Not only able to move at the speed of light (186,000 miles per second), the Flash can also think and react lightning fast, with endurance that enables him to do laps around the world as a mere warmup exercise. As we’ve seen from the recent Justice League trailer, Barry Allen can move so quick that he can observe a moving projectile, before picking out of thin air as Batman proclaims, “So, you’re fast.”
It goes without saying then that with his speedster skills, the Flash would be our pick for any and all of the running athletic games in the Olympics. 100M dash, 800M sprint, 400M hurtles, and everything else would be nothing but a mere appetizer for the Flash. While we’re at it, why not add the entire Flash family like Wally West, Jay Gallick, and Bart Allen to the mix? Every other relay team would get left behind in the dust as Allen and his cohorts finish the race before all the others can take a single step onto the track.
2 Aquaman in Swimming
While he didn’t start off as the edgiest of superheroes (Family Guy loves roasting this guy), watch how seriously everyone takes Aquaman when he is swimming for the gold in the Olympics. Although he gets a lot of flak for his upright moral compass in earlier incarnations, it looks like Jason Mamoa’s big screen take on the aquatic superhero will be anything but comical. This original member of the Justice League has a bunch of superhuman abilities that would blow the competition out of the water in an Olympic size pool. For starters, he has the power to breathe underwater, along with superhuman strength, allowing him to swim up to 3,000 meters per second, which is roughly 6,700 miles per hour.
Aquaman can also indefinitely stay underwater without suffering any ill effects, so theoretically he could win a swimming race without even popping his head up. Any Olympic swimming competition like the freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, or butterfly would be crushed by Aquaman, who would put Michael Phelps’ records to shame.
1 The Hulk in the Decathlon
Comprised of ten track and field events, the decathlon is the ultimate test of strength and endurance for any Olympic athlete. Held over the course of two days, the decathlon competition spans everything from shot put, high jump, javelin throw, and track races up to 1500 meters in length. It’s certainly not for the faint of heart, and as such, only the toughest superhero should throw his hat into the ring, or in this case, his tattered pair of purple shorts.
Given the vast range of events that need to get done, we can’t picture anyone else doing more damage at the decathlon than the Hulk. He’s a mean green fighting machine who would pretty much wreck in every sport out of the ten. He could no doubt throw a shot farther than any mortal athlete and his powerful calves would surely decimate in both the high and long jump. The only snag he might run into is finding a pole that could support his weight in the pole vault without snapping in two. Besides that, it’s hard to believe anyone, superhero or not, could best the green giant and win the title of “World’s Greatest Athlete” over him.