If all this Olympic fever has left you wanting to sack in your day job and become a personal fitness trainer, then hats off to you. You’ve probably been inspired by the weight lifting and baffled by the positions in the men’s gymnastics, not to mention being in awe of the cyclists. Are you struggling to be impressed by the table tennis though? No disrespect to the competitors, but it doesn’t quite compare to watching Lizzie Armistead get Silver… however if you think table tennis is odd, how about these sports, which genuinely featured in the Olympics at some stage in time:
Tug of War
This village fete pastime was once a very competitive Olympic sport. It was an Olympic event until 1920, and according to historians, Great Britain won the most medals in this ‘sport’.
Believe it or not, military patrol was a demonstration sport in the 1924, 28, 36 and 48 Olympics. It’s now termed (perhaps more politically correctly) a biathlon, which consists of a race in which contestants ski or run with the total distance being broken up by either two or four shooting rounds.
Yep… believe it or not town planning was included in the 1928, 32, 36 and 48 Olympic Games. Marine Park in Brooklyn designed by Charles Downing Lay won a silver award in the 1936 Olympics.
Solo Synchronized Swimming
Sounds bizarre, right? This sport was introduced in 1984 and features one female swimmer synchronizing with herself, like water ballet. This event was stopped as an Olympic event after 1992.
Live Pigeon Shooting
The 1900 Paris Games saw athletes aim to shoot down as many pigeons as possible. Records show that nearly 300 pigeons were shot, which created a bloody, feathery mess. The winner shot 21 pigeons. It’s good to know that the 1900 Games were the only time that pigeon killing was featured as a sport.
Roller Hockey debuted at the 1992 Barcelona Games, and basically follows the rules of ice hockey… but on roller skates. Argentina took the gold for this game, but sadly the Barcelona games was the only time Roller Hockey featured as an Olympic Sport. Maybe if they’d included a disco ball and an LED light up pitch this sport would still be around…
Somehow, after reading about these once-Olympic sports, table tennis doesn’t seem too odd…