Tug of war was an Olympic sport
Spitting far and sack race
Munich - You thought that modern pentathlon and synchronized swimming were unusual sports? Not even close. SPOX has rummaged in the Olympic archives and presented the editorial hit list of the extinct Olympic sports.
"Especially before the Games were professionalized, there were quite a few blooms," says David Wallechinsky, Vice President of the International Society of Olympic Historians in an interview with the Associated Press. "It wasn't until the games got bigger that the individual sports were taken seriously."
Here are the top 8 of the SPOX editorial team:
8th place: sack race, barrel jumping & spitting. Children's birthday? No. 1904 Olympic Games in St. Louis, USA. At that time, a whopping 102 sports were still considered Olympic. Including jumping tons. A 400-meter obstacle course in which the participants had to jump headlong through barrels hung on ropes every 50 meters. Sack race was also part of it, as was spitting tobacco wide.
What followed was the mockery of the Olympics as a western show and an immediate mothballing of most curious sports. In addition, the Olympic Games were held again two years later in order to contain the damage to the company's image.
7th place: tug of war. You hardly need to explain the principle: a horde of men, a thick rope - and off you go. From 1900 to 1920, the showdown was part of the athletics program of the Olympic Games six times. And Germany even won gold: namely at the interposed games in Athens in 1906 together with Switzerland.
6th place: Underwater swimming: Simply swimming bores the audience. This is what the organizers of the 1900 Olympic Games in Paris thought and invented 200-meter underwater swimming without further ado.
The aim was not only to cover as much of the route underwater as possible, but also to stay under water for as long as possible. There was one point for every second underwater, two for every meter dived. Winner Charles de Vendeville from France held his breath for a total of 68.4 seconds and covered 60 meters underwater. The competition was then abolished.
5th place: Obstacle swimming: The French created another unique swimming event in 1900: obstacle swimming. The participants had to cover 200 meters in the Seine, climb over boats, dive under ships and climb up a pole. The Australian Frederick Lane won in 2: 38.4 minutes - with which, thanks to the favorable Seine current, he allegedly equalized the world record at the time over the regular 200-meter freestyle.
4th place: Long jump for horses: What does the common track and field athlete do when his feet become lame? He simply sits on the horse and lets the animal jump for him. That's not true, of course, but in 1900 there was actually an Olympic high and long jump competition for horses in Paris. The Belgian Constant van Langhendonck won with his stallion "Extra Dry". On it he jumped 6.10 meters over a moat. The world record for human solo jumpers is currently 8.95 meters.
3rd place: The pistol duel: Sure, it must have been the Americans. Cowboys & Indians and such. Far from it, it was the Greeks. In 1906 in Athens there was a cultivated Olympic duel. Almost. Because instead of pounding each other over in the best Wild West manner, the participants shot at mannequins in frock coats with targets on their chests.
Incidentally, the French Leon Moreaux (over 20 meters) and the Greek Konstantinos Skarlatos (30 meters) won. It is not known whether they were subsequently offered sheriff positions in the USA.
2nd place: Pigeon shooting: Sounds brutal, and it is. Because this is not about clay pigeons or other dummies: We are actually talking about the little cooing creatures made of flesh and blood that eat out of your hand in the city center and shit on your head ... Anyway: almost 300 Specimens of the genus "common city pigeon" were taken from the sky in Paris in 1900, when the Olympians determined the best shooter on the fluttering target. To the delight of animal rights activists and city cleaners, the bloody spectacle was then abolished. The only title holder remains the Belgian Leon de Lunden with 21 hits and only two misses.
1st place: crawling only for sailors: Always just watching is boring: That was also the opinion of the crew of the Greek warships lying in the port of Piraeus at the Olympic Games in 1896 and absolutely wanted to take part in the swimming competitions taking place in front of their own noses.
The problem: the good sailors were just too slow. And so that one does not completely embarrass oneself, a separate 100 meter competition was created without further ado. Three seafarers took part, the winner was almost a minute slower than the winner of the regular competition. After all, you will win something with us - namely first place in the ranking of the most curious Olympic sports.
They just missed the top 8: club swinging, head jumping and individual synchronized swimming. Further suggestions are always welcome.
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