5 Weirdest Olympic Games To Have Ever Been Played
The Olympic Games have been around for a very long time. They first appeared in Ancient Greece, in 776 BC, and were played until 393 AD. It them took 1503 years for the Olympics to return onto the world stage. The first modern Olympic Games were played in Athens, Greece, in 1896. And ever since then, the games have taken place every four years, in different places around the globe.
But they haven’t always looked like they do today. As time went on, more and more sports were added to the event. Some were quite old and stemmed from tradition, while others were new and just invented. But even some of these, after a few years, were discontinued for various reasons. Maybe because not enough people were playing them, or maybe because not many were interested in them. Whatever the reason, some of these Olympic Games were really strange and weird. Here are 5 such sports.
5. Tug of War
Tug of War was a track and field Olympic sport in the 1900, 1904, 1908, 1912, and 1920 games. This grade school game consisted of teams of eight on each side of the rope. To win, one team had to pull its opposition six feet — or, if the five minute time limit had expired, the team which pulled its opponents the furthest would receive the victory.
The most controversial tug of war match occurred in the 1908 games, when Great Britain took home the gold despite protests from the U.S. that the Brits wore illegal footwear.
4. Men’s Ski Ballet
Yup, that’s right; men dancing ballet on their skis. It was a freestyle skiing discipline from the late-1960’s until the year 2000. Ski ballet is no longer a part of competitive freestyle skiing. It involved a choreographed routine of flips, rolls, leg crossings, jumps, and spins performed on a smooth slope.
After the mid-1970’s the routine was performed to music for 90 seconds. For a short period of time (in the 1980’s) there were also pair ballet competitions, similar to ice ballet today.
3. Club Swinging
Club Swinging made the cut as an Olympic sport during the 1904 and 1932 Summer Games. Club swingers whirled around bowling pin-shaped clubs quickly around their body and head with routines similar to those of modern day rhythmic gymnastics. American George Roth won the gold medal during the 1932 games.
Originating from India, the Indian clubs or meels are a type of exercise equipment used for developing strength. They comprise bowling-pin shaped wooden clubs of varying sizes and weights, which are swung in certain patterns as part of an exercise program.
2. Pistol Dueling
In the late 19th and early 20th century, pistol dueling became popular as a sport in France. The duelists were armed with conventional pistols, but the cartridges had Wax bullets and were without any powder charge; the bullet was propelled only by the explosion of the cartridge’s primer.
Participants wore heavy, protective clothing and a metal helmet with a glass eye-screen. The pistols were fitted with a shield that protected the firing hand. Pistol dueling was an associate (non-medal) event at the 1908 Summer Olympics in London.
1. The Long Jump on Horseback
While the long jump event has tested the athletic prowess of track and field stars from around the world, back in the Paris Games of 1900, horses were given the chance to show off how far they could leap.
The 1900 Summer Olympics was the only Olympic Games to date to feature an Equestrian long jump competition. Of the seventeen competitors who entered, eight are known by name; of the rest, six were French and one was Belgian. All 17 competitors managed to jump 4.50 metres (14.8 ft), but several were eliminated at 4.90 meters (16.1 ft).