Odd Olympics

Wacky and nontraditional sports that used to be in the Olympic Games.

   There are many sports that are traditionally thought of as “Olympic sports”. These might include diving, archery, and soccer, but probably not motorboating

   In 1908, the Olympic Games took place in London, England, and included a 46-mile-long motorboat race, but because of the weather, six of the nine races scheduled for the day were canceled. Not that it would have been much of a spectacle, because the average speeds were around 19 miles per hour. This is why the event was never seen again.

   An event that lasted a little longer than motorboating was tug of war, which was first held in 1900 at the Paris games. This sport lasted until 1920, when controversy arose over the wearing of pronged boots, as it gave extra traction that was considered unfair.

   Along with nontraditional sports, the Olympics once included an art competition. Starting in 1912 and lasting until 1948, the Olympic Games had events that included architecture, painting, sculpture, literature, and music.

   These events were removed due to most of the competing artists being professionals, which the Internation Olympic Committee opposed at the time, favoring amateurs instead, as it allowed lesser-known artists to rise to prominence.

   A sport more on the extreme side was military patrol. Although it doesn’t sound like a sport, it was a medal event, last seen in 1948. It consisted of a 25-kilometer cross-country ski course and a shooting competition.

   The event was competed in a group of four people or a “patrol”, with each person in the group having a different role.

   This event was a precursor to the Biathlon, which is a current event in the Winter Olympics, with a very similar objective. The main difference lies in the military-like patrol. The biathlon, instead, is a solo event.

   In total, there are 13 medal events that have been removed from the Olympics. Some other sports that are no longer seen are cricket, polo, croquet, and lacrosse, most of these events were removed for lack of participation. There we’re simply not enough players to hold the event very often.

   There is technically no rule that says these sports will never return to the games. However, we are not likely to ever see them again, so for now, professional motorboaters and artists alike will have to stay out of the games.