Rio 2016 has seen the return of rugby and golf to the Olympics. And it’s not just because team GB have won 2 medals in these events, but we are very excited about this. Okay, the two medals haven’t exactly been a bad point. But in recent years we have also seen the loss of many popular sports from the olympics. Baseball and softball to name a few. However, these aren’t the only olympic sports that have been discontinued. In fact in it’s earlier days, the summer olympics was full of weird and wonderful sports you won’t believe existed. If you want to be as shocked as I was, then continue reading. Some of these are bound to make you giggle.
1. Poodle clipping
Back in 1900, Poodle clipping was trialed as an Olympic event. I’m guessing that the trial proved unsuccessful, as 1900 was the only year to feature this Olympic ‘sport’. Exactly as it sounds, 128 competitors gathered in a park and battled it out to see who could trim the most poodles in a 2 hour time period. Why Poodles? It isn’t clear. But neither is why this was considered as an Olympic sport in the first place.
Image source: www.akc.com
2. Equestrian high and long jump
1900 is shaping up to be quite an unusual year for the Olympics, as it was also the only year to host equestrian long and high jump. However, it was soon discontinued when it failed to get the support it needed to continue. This event did exactly what it said on the tin. Horses competed to see who could jump the furthest, and highest, distances. I’m not sure exactly how much human skill this one required, but they must have been some clever horses.
Image source: www.ponybox.com
3. Solo synchronized swimming
I’m guessing the Olympics committee didn’t understand why this couldn’t be a legitimate Olympic sport when they introduced it into the games in 1984. But I’m assuming that they soon twigged on to the fact that ‘solo’ and ‘synchronised’ are two words that don’t naturally come hand in hand when the event was eventually cancelled after a good stint in the modern games. I’m sure this event was interesting to watch; the other synchronized swimming events appear to be quite popular. However, trying to pass it off as a synchronized event wasn’t going to wash with spectators.
Image Source: www.zimbio.com
4. Short distance walking events
This one is definitely up my street. I’m sure you non-athletic readers can relate too. But short distance walking events were a legitimate Olympic sport, having featured in 7 different games. Taking a stroll around a track does seem a lot more appealing then sprinting, but I’m sure the lack of competitiveness the event involved made it rather dull to watch. Needless to say, this event was discontinued back in 1952.
Image source: fitnessgurunyc.com
5. Equestrian vaulting
There’s no denying that this one requires a lot of skill, but that doesn’t stop it being a rather unusual sport. Often described as gymnastics on horseback, gymnasts were required to perform acrobatic moves on their horse's back whilst it moved in a 15 metre circle. I’m not sure when this event was discontinued, but there are a lot of people interested in it making a comeback as an Olympic sport in the modern games.
Image source: www.zimbio.com
6. Swimming obstacle race
The swimming obstacle race is another unusual event to add to the long list of peculiar events that were held in the 1900 games. The course was 200m long and required the competitors to climb over a pole, scramble over a row of boats and then swim under a final row of boats. It sounds a lot more like a sports day event then an Olympic event, but rather fun nevertheless.
7. Live pigeon shooting
Shooting continues to be a popular sport at the Olympics, with a variety of inanimate objects used as targets. However, live pigeon shooting was the only event to ever be included in the Olympics that harmed live animals. It’s no wonder it was discontinued after its first appearance. The aim of the game was to shoot as many pigeons as possible which as you can imagine, was reported to leave an awful mess. No points for guessing which year was the only year to include this Olympic sport.
8. Plunge for distance
Diving isn’t an abnormal sport at the Olympics, but this event had a rather unusual twist. Competitors were required to take a standing dive from the side of the pool and continue gliding (without moving any limbs) until their head emerged or until 60 seconds were up. The competitor who reached the furthest distance, won. It sounds fun but compared to the more intense diving events included in today’s games, it isn’t hard to see why it was discontinued.
9. Rope climbing
I remember having to climb a rope in my P.E class, but I never realised it was a legitimate sport. It was only involved in 5 Olympic games before it began to lack support and was eventually discontinued. The rope varied in size between games (7.5m to 15m) and the aim was to get to the top of the rope in the quickest time possible. Style was considered as a scoring factor at some of the games.
Image source: www.gymnasticsnewsnetwork.com
Know of any other fun or interesting sports that have been discontinued from the Olympic games? Let us know by tweeting us @MrNutcase!