SPORTS

10 Olympic sports events that (thankfully) never caught on

Jul 20, 2021, 8:10 PM

olympic sports of the past included tug-of-war...

July 1908: The United States tug-of-war team in action during the 1908 London Olympics at White City Stadium. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

(Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

Most of us can name a few Olympic sports from both the Summer and the Winter Games. We might even have a favorite or two we like to watch. 

But it might surprise you to learn that the sports that wound up becoming hallowed Olympic events changed from time to time. Just as surfing and skateboarding came to the games relatively recently, the games periodically go through some pruning. 

10 forgotten Olympic sports

Featured at the Olympic Games surrounding the turn of the 20th century, these 10 sports once held a key position in the games, before we relegated them to the memories of the past. 

1. Live Pigeon Shooting

This event happened just once at the 1900 Olympic Games in Paris. After protests from animal rights activists, future Games traded the live pigeons in for clay birds instead.

2. Croquet

The first of the Olympic sports that women could play, according to The Coolist, croquet also showed up just once, again, at the 1900 Games. 

3. Plunge for distance

Debuting at just one Olympics, the 1904 Games in St. Louis, Mo., competitors in the plunge for distance event dove into a pool and remained motionless for a minute; the athlete who glided the farthest won. Five men participated in the event, all Americans; William Dickey took home gold with a distance of almost 63 feet. 

4. Motor boating

Assistance from a motor doesn’t seem very sporting, does it? Motor boating was an official Olympic event at only the 1908 Games in London from from April 27 to October 31. Not too impressive by today’s Olympic sports standards — back then, top speeds hit just 19 mph.

5. Pistol dueling

The 1908 Games also featured pistol dueling in which two male competitors fired at each other with pistols loaded with wax bullets; the athletes wore protective equipment for the torso, face and hands.

6. One-hand weightlifting

Similar to the modern snatch weightlifting, one-hand weightlifting was featured at the Olympics Games in 1896, 1904 and 1906. 

7. Poodle clipping

As part of the Olympics in Paris in 1900, poodle clipping was a trial event in which 128 people competed before a crowd of 6,000 spectators to see who could clip the fur off the most poodles in a two-hour period.

8. Tug-of-war

An Olympic event from 1900 to 1920, tug-of-war involved burly competitors tugging on a rope until the midpoint passed a certain point in the territory of the opposing team, signaling victory. Just like summer camp. 

9. 200 meter swimming obstacle race

Held in the River Seine in Paris during the 1900 Games, the 200 meter swimming obstacle race involved competitors swimming under a row of boats and climbing over a pole and another row of boats, all while dealing with the river’s current. The swimming obstacle course never returned to the Olympics.

10. Two hands javelin

This event was held once – at the 1912 Games in Stockholm, Sweden. Athletes weren’t required to throw the javelin with both hands. Instead, each competitor threw the javelin three times in his right hand and three times in his left. The best distance with each hand was totaled to determine the winner.

What Olympic sports would you like to see make a comeback? Which ones need to stay in the history books? Send us an email at digitalcontentradio@bonneville.com and let us know what you think. 

Read more: 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Sports

Ahead of the NHL to Utah party on Wednesday, Utahns crowded the plaza of the Delta Center and waite...

Simone Seikaly, Eric Cabrera, Emma Keddington, Adam Small

Utahns showing up for the NHL in Utah

Ahead of the NHL to Utah party, Utahns crowded the plaza of the Delta Center and waited in long lines for the party to start.

13 hours ago

The Vrbo Fiesta Bowl sign...

Chandler Holt

Utah native named Fiesta Bowl Yellow Jacket Committee chair

The Fiesta Bowl Yellow Jacket Committee has named Ryan Hatch as its chair.

18 hours ago

zach wilson...

Sam Herrera

LISTEN: Zach Wilson reportedly traded to Denver Broncos

KSL Sports producer Kyle Ireland joined Jeff Caplan's Afternoon News to discuss Zach Wilson's reported trade.

3 days ago

NHL announcement...

Adam Small

How an NHL team helps Utah for the 2034 Winter Olympics

An NHL team is officially coming to Utah. How will the new franchise help a possible 2034 Olympics in our state?

6 days ago

The Delta Center shown...

CHANDLER HOLT AND JAY STEVENS, KSL SPORTS

League approves new NHL team in Utah, owned by Ryan, Ashley Smith

The NHL Board Of Governors approved the establishment of a new hockey franchise (previously Arizona Coyotes) in Utah by Ryan Smith.

7 days ago

photo of the Arizona Coyotes on a rink...

Kyle Ireland, KSL Sports

Coyotes express thanks for Arizona, look forward to support of Utah

Multiple Coyote players shared thanks for their time in Arizona and looked forward to the move to Utah with optimism.

7 days ago

Sponsored Articles

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.

...

Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

10 Olympic sports events that (thankfully) never caught on