One of the things about the Olympics is that you probably end up watching lots of sports that you wouldn’t watch in any other circumstances. Over the years the sports line-up has changed and so I present you with a few of the more weird and wonderful sports that for reasons that might not be entirely difficult to work out, have been dropped from the Olympics over the years.
Tug of War (1900, 1904, 1906, 1908, 1912, 1920) – basically who could pull the opposing team over a line. A bit school sport’s day for some, but actually featured in the Ancient Olympics. Apparently the Brits beat the US at this in a matter of seconds once and the US said this was because GB was wearing spiked shoes. So GB offered a rematch in their socks. The US still lost.
Club swinging (1904) – basically holding a juggling club and swinging it around a lot (the clue was in the name I guess. Judges awarded points for the routine.
Rope Climbing (1896, 1904, 1906, 1924, 1932) – again the sot of thing you might expect to do at school – except they were only allowed to climb using their hands and arms, so entirely reliant on upper body strength. The first one to the top of the 8 metre rope won - in some of the earlier years it was 14 metres…
Live Pigeon Shooting (1900)– a rather gruesome sport. They released lots of pigeons and the person who shot the most won. Presumably leaving lots of carcasses and feathers to clear up afterwards.
Horse long jump (1900) – well, erm what it says it is, getting horses to do the equivalent of what athletes still do in the athletics.
Obstacle Race (1900) – swimming through lots of obstacles: climbing over a pole, over a row of boats an then under another row of boats…
Solo synchronized swimming (1984, 1988, 1992)- there was some doubt that it was possible to be synchronised when doing this event on your own. Competitors argued that they were synchronised with the music *raises a sceptical eyebrow*
Something else that has been changed in the Olympics is the releasing of doves during the Opening Ceremony. This tradition, representing peace, came to somewhat an abrupt end when in Seoul they released the doves, they flew around a bit and some of them settled on the cauldron where the Olympic flame was about to be lit. Let’s just say the barbecue stall outside the Olympic stadium was given some extra delicacies to sell that night… And not only is the motto of the Olympics “Citius Altius Fortius” (Faster Higher Stronger) but also “Light the Olympic flame first and then release the doves”.
London’s Alleys – Gunthorpe Street, E1
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