You’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t enjoy the Olympic Games. They bring national pride to spectators whose countrymen and women are competing. And even if you nation isn’t competing in an event, top athletes from around the world showcase their talents and wow crowds all around the world. However, most people don’t realize how long the Olympic Games have been around, and that many events have had to come and go in order to reach the current showcase we are accustomed to today.
Here are 10 of the most peculiar Olympic Events that have, for obvious reasons, been discontinued:
10. Plunging For Distance
This unusual event gained much of its popularity in the 19 th and early 20th century. Competitors would plunge into the water and remain motionless for 60 seconds before their drift distance was recorded. In 1904, this spell bounding test of the human bodies drifting ability became an official event. Most everyone agreed that the event required zero athletic ability. And by the 1920s plunging for distance had, for lack of better wording, taken the plunge.
9. Obstacle Race Swimming
This event was actually very exhausting for racers and entertaining for the fans. It required swimmers to swim 200 meters full of obstacles with a pole at the end of the length. Once they reached the pole, competitors had to climb the pole, climb back down, scramble over 2 boats, then swim under two boats and finish swimming across the finish line. The event only took place once in the 1900 Summer Olympics in Paris and has been the only obstacle swimming event in the Olympics since.
8. Rope Climbing
Between 1896 and 1932, rope climbing was an event in the arena of gymnastics. Competitors were only allowed to use their hands as they ascended the rope. It wasn’t a head-to-head competition either. Rope Climbers were timed to see who could reach the top and ring the circular tambourine quickest.
Having originated in the 1880s, Roque was a very popular sport throughout the 20 th century. Fans even went as far as to call Roque, The Game Of The Century . Roque, is actually the American version of the French sport croquet. Short-handled mallets are used on a hard court that is surrounded by a concrete wall against which the ball rebounds and retrieves. Roque was played in the St. Louis Olympics of 1904 by a select number of Americans only.
6. Jeu De Paume
Obviously a French game that translates in English to, “Palm Game.” It began with player using their bare hands before gloves made their way into game play. Players then moved on to small paddles before rackets were introduced and the game was renamed to tennis. The game only made it as an exhibition event in the 1908 and 1924 Summer Olympics.
5. Tug Of War
If only this was still an Olympic Event. If you don’t know what a game of tug of war involves, than shame on you. Two teams pull on a rope in opposite directions trying to pass the middle ribbon on the rope across the intersection to their side. It wasn’t until 1908 that the term “tug of war” was associated with the game. Its origins are unknown, but some historians can trace the event back to ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Chinese times. It was an Olympic event in 1900, 1904, 1908, 1912 and 1920. In the 1908 Games, the London police force won the Gold medal.
4. Standing Triple Jump
A confusing event by name, the standing triple jump at least has its roots set in track and field. It was twice a part of the Summer Olympics in 1900 and 1904. As the name describes, a competitor had three jumps starting from a standstill. The first jump required you to land on one foot, the second jump on the opposite foot, and the third had you landing on both feet. The competitor who traveled the furthest distance would win.
3. Dueling Pistols
Imagine an old western show down with two guys drawing pistols on each other, except in the dueling pistols event, the other guy was a mannequin dressed in a coat. The throat of the mannequin acted as the bull’s eye. The event made its debut in the unofficial 1906 Intercalated Olympic Games held in Athens.
2. Solo Synchronized Swimming
Solo Synchronized Swimming was made an official event in 1984 and then discontinued in 1992 (maybe because the Olympic Committee realized you can’t synchronize in a solo act). Competitors had to perform a water ballet of sorts, but in this case, they were on their own. Simply put, the argument for the validity of this sport wasn’t strong enough to tread water.
1. Live Pigeon Shooting
You better believe the Olympic Committee approved the killing of live animals, because it happen in the 1900 Olympic Games. Thank god it wasn’t televised. Could you imagine being a commentator for that event? At least the rules were simple, kill as many pigeons as possible. Once you miss two birds, you’re eliminated. It didn’t take long before animal rights activists had competitors shooting clay pigeons in place of live birds. Sports enthusiast believe it is only a matter of time before pottery activists start voicing their opinions.