The Olympics are considered the greatest show on Earth and thus it is not surprising that most sports bodies are keen to be associated with the Games. Once every four years through an elaborate process, new sports are inducted into the Olympics. Justifiably they get a lot of attention. However there are also a lot of “events” that were once a part of the Games but do not find a mention anymore.
Some of these former events are legitimate sports that are played with much fanfare even today while the others can hardly be considered athletic — even though they were super entertaining.
We’ve compiled a list of eight “sports” that have become extinct from the Olympics – but would rock it if they were played at Rio 2016.
1. Obstacle race – Made only one appearance during the Paris games of 1900. It was a 200 metres swimming/running race on the river Seine which required participants to climb over a pole, go under a row of unturned boats and then run over a row of upturned boats. Twelve swimmers from five nations competed. Frederick Lane from Australia won the event.
2. Standing long jump – Featured in the Olympics till the 1912 Games. As the name suggested you jumped from where you were instead of taking a run up. The American Ray Ewry won 4 gold medals till the time this event featured in the Olympics.
3. Tug of war – Last featured in the 1920 Games in Antwerp. The event had been around since the Paris Games of 1900. The rules of the event stipulated that an eight-man team had to pull their opponents six feet to win. If either side failed to do so, judges gave the struggle a further five minutes and then declared the team who had made the most progress as the winners. The British team dominated this event winning 2 golds and 1 silver medal between 1900 to 1920.
4. Rope climbing – Was part of Gymnastics until the 1932 Games in Los Angeles. While during the event’s initial years competitors were judged on both speed and style, by the 20 th century climbers were judged purely on speed. The last winner for this event was Raymond Bass from the USA who climbed 10 metres in 6.7 seconds and clinched the Gold.
5. Distance Plunging – Made an appearance during the 1904 Games in St. Louis. The event required athletes to dive into the pool and stay underwater for about 60 seconds without moving their legs. After 60 seconds had passed – or competitors had floated to the surface, whichever came first – referees measured the distance the athletes had drifted. The winner was the one who covered the longest distance and stayed underwater for the longest time. William Dickey from the USA won the Gold.
6. Croquet – Made only one appearance and that too during the 1900 Games in Paris. It was discontinued for multiple reasons. Some of these were – only the French signed up to play, only one person bought tickets to see the event and an official report of the Paris Olympics stated that Croquet wasn’t really a sport “(it has) hardly any pretensions to athleticism.”
7. Cricket – The 1900 Games at Paris included Cricket. However, the organisers could not find many participating nations. The Games featured just one match between a British and a French side. The rumours were that the French side was entirely composed of Englishmen. The Olympic committee decided to discontinue the sport from the Games as they felt the sports did not have a “global appeal”
8. Horse Long Jump – Featured in the Paris Games of 1900. As part of the equestrian events, horses were given the chance to show how far they could leap. The winning leap was from Belgium’s Constant van Langendonck atop Extra Dry (Horse). The jump measured 6.10 meters.