Equestrian Skiing, Pistol Dueling and Hot Air Ballooning - The Weirdest Olympic Sports of All Time

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Equestrian Skiing, Pistol Dueling and Hot Air Ballooning - The Weirdest Olympic Sports of All Time
Equestrian Skiing, Pistol Dueling and Hot Air Ballooning - The Weirdest Olympic Sports of All Time

The best-known events of the Olympics are played by every sports fan, but the modern games sometimes featured less popular and even downright strange sports, which were removed from the program after a few occasions and are now only remembered by truly fanatical Olympic experts. on them. We have collected some of these strange competitions

Rope Climbing – 1896, 1904, 1906, 1924, 1932

In the beginning, the horror of physical education classes at school, rope climbing was also considered an Olympic sport: at the first modern Olympics held in Athens in 1896, the competitors had to pull themselves up on a 14-meter rope, and at the subsequent games, they had to pull themselves up on a 7-meter rope, the winner of course was, who reached the top the fastest. After a long hiatus, the event was revived at the 1924 and 1932 Olympics, but after that, its star was finally sacrificed.

Sport shooting live pigeon – 1900

Sports shooting has also been part of the program of the summer games since the first modern Olympics, however - and fortunately - it only happened once that competitors could aim at flesh-and-blood birds instead of clay pigeons. At the second Olympics, held in Paris, pigeon shooting was a separate event, in which a group of feathered animals were released into the air at the same time, and the gold medal was won by the one who covered the most of the flying birds - according to estimates, approx. 300 pigeons were killed, and the Belgian Leon de Lunden was able to stand on the top step of the podium with 21 hits.

The competition turned out to be not only difficult, but also very cruel, so it was no longer included in the program of the next Olympics: to this day, pigeon shooting in 1900 is the only time that animals were deliberately killed during the competitions.

Hot air ballooning – 1900

Also the 1900 event in Paris made its debut in the 19-20. hot air ballooning, which was popular as an Olympic sport at the turn of the 20th century: 61 competitors competed, but according to the rules, only amateurs could take to the air, professional balloon pilots were strictly excluded. The jury took into account how high the balloons rose, how long they spent in the air, how far they traveled, and how well they landed when they returned - the gold medal went to the French Henry de la Vaulx, who set two world records with his flight, however, ballooning lovers could not rejoice for long, their favorite air sport was no longer included in the program of the next Olympics.

Hot air balloon race at the Paris Olympics
Hot air balloon race at the Paris Olympics

Motorboating – 1900, 1908

In addition to hot air ballooning, another technical sport, motor boating, was also included in the competitions of the early Olympics: depending on the length of the vehicles, the entrants could compete in three categories (6, 5–8 meters, under 30 meters, and unlimited length)., who had to travel 40 nautical miles in open water. However, the popularity of the sport was undermined by several things: due to the rudimentary technical features, the motorboats could travel at a maximum speed of 30 km/h, the audience could not follow the races due to the distance covered, and at the 1908 London Games, six of the nine competitions were blown due to bad weather.

It is no wonder that motor boating was permanently removed from the program after that, and it is not likely that it will ever return there, because the Olympic Charter now prohibits the participation of technical sports.

Pistol Duel – 1906, 1908

The classic way of settling gentlemen's disagreements, the pistol duel was included in the Olympics twice - at the (unofficial) 1906 Athens Games as a competition, and two years later in London as an exhibition sport. For the first time, the contestants shot at wax dolls, the task was to hit the target painted on the doll's chest as accurately as possible, but at the games held in the British capital, the parties had to aim at each other: although the pistols were equipped with blank cartridges, and the duelists wore metal helmets and thickly padded clothes, more there were also personal injuries, due to which the Olympic committee deleted the spectacular, but not exactly safe, event from the program forever.

Ski Ring – 1928

At the second Winter Olympics held in St. Moritz, Switzerland, spectators were able to enjoy for the first and last time the sport called síjöring - the name comes from the Norwegian word skikjøring, or "ski driving" - in which a dog or horse pulls competitors on skis, in the latter case, there is often no rider on the animal's back, so the stunt is considered particularly dangerous. The participants traveled at the same time on the course, which had no obstacles, and in the end all three places on the podium were occupied by Swiss competitors - however, the ski ring, which was featured as a demonstration sport, was not particularly successful, so it was never brought back into the program.

Skijöring competition in the 1930s
Skijöring competition in the 1930s

Individual synchronized swimming - 1984–1992

Tracie Ruiz, individual synchronized swimming gold medalist at the 1984 Olympics
Tracie Ruiz, individual synchronized swimming gold medalist at the 1984 Olympics

The name individual or one-person synchronized swimming in itself is a contradiction in terms, it is no wonder that many people did not know what to do with the competition, which is more reminiscent of water ballet, in which the participants performed different movements to music in the pool (that is, according to the explanation, "in sync with the music" were moving). The strange swimming number made its debut in the program of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics - the gold medal was brought by the American Tracie Ruiz - but after the 1992 Barcelona Games, it was, quite understandably, permanently removed from the schedule.

Football – 1992

The organizers of the mentioned Olympics in Barcelona thought that not only the spectators of the Winter Olympics could enjoy the excitement of the hockey matches, so they included in the program "summer hockey" played with roller skates instead of ice skates: the sport was of course of little interest, and after Barcelona it was never he did not receive a place at the games again, so the Argentine team still owns the only Olympic gold medal in hockey.

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