The Top 5 Preppiest Summer Olympic Sports

The Top 5 Preppiest Summer Olympic Sports
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The Top Preppy Olympic Sports

Watching the Olympics, it's easy to be wowed by the pure physicality and athleticism displayed by the world's most dominant athletes. These people are beasts! Their parents were strong-willed enough to deny them love and affection for decades, forcing their single-minded children to forego basic human experience and connection in an attempt to create champions - and they succeeded!

Funny thing is, a lot of the sports in which these specimens are dominating are way preppy. For every boxing, you have an Equestrian Dressage. That means that emotionally-absent daddy was probably a hedge fund manager!

Without further ado, here are the top 5 Preppiest Summer Olympic sports. Apologies to archery, diving, badminton, water polo, fencing, and rugby, which just missed making the list.

Honorable Mention: Lacrosse Lacrosse Olympics

Overview: We know what you're thinking: HONORABLE MENTION? Have you SEEN the Lax bros at my school? We get it. Trust us. The only reason Lacrosse doesn't rank higher is that it hasn't actually been an Olympic event since 1908 (although it was a demonstration event as late as 1948). That said, the favorite sport of double-sock-wearing, prep-school-attending young males is either a preppy institution, punchline, or both!

Region: Growing from its stronghold in the mid-Atlantic to dominate the Northeast, and quickly expanding in the South, Lacrosse is the fastest growing men's sport in the US. Who's good at it? Name a school that sounds elitist and/or wealthy, and you're on the right track!

Actual Names of People Who Play the Sport: L. Read Mortimer, III; Paris Mansmann, Stoddie Nibley, Winship Ross, Gentry Fitzpatrick. Really. These are real people.

5. Women's Field Hockey

Women's Field Hockey Olympics

Overview: Tartan skirts. Elite schools.  One could argue that Women's Field Hockey is actually the preppiest sport on this list; it certainly boasts a veritable who's who of iconic preppy players. Interestingly, we've heard that despite the proper attire, you DO NOT want to mess with a women's field hockey player. The likelihood that she beats you with a stick is simply too great to risk.

Region: The United Kingdom, the Northeastern United States, Pakistan (it's actually the national sport. Huh. We would have guessed cricket).

Actual & Fictional People Who Risk Life and Limb to Play Field Hockey: Serena Van der Woodsen, Blair Waldorf, Hermione Granger / Emma Watson, and Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton.


4. Golf

Golf Preppy Sports Olympics

Overview: Ah, golf - the obvious choice. Golf stands out on this list as one of the few sports where you have free reign to shun a uniform in favor of your own style - as long as it's preppy. Just look at Arnold Palmer, Payne Stewart, and Ian Poulter. Those gents definitely have their own looks, but they're unequivocally preppy. In our book, the late Mr. Stewart takes home the gold. Also, bonus points for the caddy carrying the YETI. Those things weigh a ton.

Region: The whole world at this point, or at least everywhere that real estate is affordable enough to dedicate several dozen acres to a rich leisure activity.

Famous People Who Golf: Samuel L. Jackson, Every President Ever, Matthew McConaughey, Michael Jordan, Sharon Stone, Will Ferrell, Bagger Vance.

3. Rowing

Rowing Preppy Olympics Sport


Overview: Let's get this straight: rowing is terrible. It's extremely popular in the Northeast, and it's a year-round sport, which means you're awake at God-awful hours, either erging away your life in a freezing building or actually rowing on an almost-frozen body of water. Neither of those options are good. That said, it's the perfect sport for rich, preppy non-coordinated athletes who are afraid to have any openings in their daily schedule. Plus, there's the whole rowing blazers thing, which is fantastic.

Region: The United Kingdom, the Northeastern United States, and actually the American South as well. Who knew?

Actual People Who Row(ed): The Winklevoss twins from The Social Network (and also, apparently, real life); Oliver Wendel Holmes; Teddy Roosevelt; Edward Norton; Bradley Cooper.

2. Equestrian Sports

Equestrian Sports Preppy Olympics

Overview: Stephen Colbert's long-running assault on dressage aside, horse-riding is obviously about as preppy as it gets (and forgive us for lumping the different equestrian events together, but, well, space issues). Rooted in the British countryside, the very root of gentility, the equestrian pursuits are reserved for those with boatloads of money, high quality horse flesh, and a willingness to muck a stable. Perhaps the preppiest part of the whole production is actually the crowd. Go to the Kentucky Derby & tell us you aren't inspired to deck yourself out in a seersucker body suit!

Region: We're going straight homers, here. The heart of the equestrian nation is Kentucky. Somewhere between Lexington and Louisville (where, incidentally, we have two stores!).

Actual People Who Ride/Own Horses: Julia Roberts, Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, Madonna, Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, Sir Paul McCartney, and John Wayne.

1. Tennis

Preppy Tennis Olympics

Overview: Like golf, tennis shares a strong association with preppiness. Rene Lacoste was a pro tennis player before he put a crocodile on the chest of every 80s villain. Roger Federer looks like he just stepped out of a Ralph Lauren catalog (from the 80s - not the distressed, urban look from today's catalog). There's a reason they're called "tennis skirts," and that people named Muffy wear them. Also, any sport that you can play when you say you're "heading to the club" is preppy by default.

Region: Worldwide, but tends to be preppier in Britain and the US.

Actual People Who Play Tennis: King Henry VIII, Tina Fey, Matthew Perry, Brad Pitt, Prince Will and Princess Kate, Dr. Phil, Will Ferrell, and Hayden Panettiere.

What do you think? Did we miss any? Think our ranking is off? Let us know in the comments!


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  • Author image
    JVT: July 23, 2018

    What happened to Skeet Shooting? Without doubt the highest “Prep Percentage” of all!

  • Author image
    Erin: July 23, 2018

    You nailed it! Simply put,

  • Author image
    Glenn: August 17, 2016

    Shocking that sailing didn’t make the cut. It should have been number 1

  • Author image
    GPprep: August 13, 2016

    No love for sailing? If it’s not top 5, it should have been at least honorable mention. It’s far preppier (and more exclusive) than lacrosse.

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