When you take a look at the modern day Olympic games it is pretty tame and boring by the standards of years gone by. All of the sports that exist now are nothing short of dull when compared to the sports of yester-year. Here are 8 Weirdest Olympic Sports Ever.
Live Pigeon Shooting – 1900
Back in 1900 when the games were held in Paris there was an event named “live pigeon shooting.” Just as you would imagine the event involved the athletes to shoot live pigeons. There were nearly 300 birds killed during this release-and-shoot competition so the spectators of the event must have been horrified with the grime looking aftermath of blood and feathers.
It is of little surprise that Live Pigeon Shooting was only ever held once at the games.
12 Hour Bike Race -1896
Just like it says on the tin the 12 hour bicycle race is just that. Riders start riding their bicycles at 5am in the morning right the way through until 5pm in the afternoon. The winner is the rider who covers the greatest distance in the given time.
When this was an Olympic sport seven riders took part with four of them dropping out before midday. The winner, a guy named Adolf Schmal of Austria, managed to ride a whopping 180 miles. There were only two competitors who managed to ride for the whole twelve hours and Schmal had a distinct advantage having lapped the only remaining competitor early on so he was always one lap ahead.
Although the 12 hour bike race is no longer an Olympic sport 12 hour time trials are still hugely popular in Great Britain.
Swimming Obstacle Race – 1900
If your standard swimming race is a little on the boring side you would probably have been overjoyed with the swimming obstacle race which featured in the Olympics of 1900.
Competitors did not just swim from one side of the pool to the other they were required to climb over poles, scramble over rows of boats and then swim under another row of boats. The event was held in the Seine River so competitors also had very strong currents to contend with as well.
Tug of War -1900-1920
Yes, we all know that tug of war might seem like it is a stupid game with a rope that guys play while at an English garden party but it was actually one of the first sports to be ever played at the Olympic games back in 500 BC.
The modern day version of the once Olympic sport featured two teams of 8 men with the winning team being required to pull the other team six feet forward. If after 5 minutes there is no winner the team which has pulled the furthest is declared the winner.
Kabaddi – 1936
Kabaddi is a sport very popular in South Asia. It is best described as a wrestling match only with teams The main objective of the game is for each team to enter the ring from their own side and make their way to the other. You gain points in Kabaddi y tagging your opponent as they try to get to your side of the ring. If you tag them they must go back to their own side and start again.
Yes, this is basically a game of tag for adults only where the players get to dress in ridiculous looking spandex costumes which have a cape.
Rope Climbing – 1896, 1904, 1906, 1924, 1932
Yet another childhood gym activity that was once an Olympic sport. Competitors basically climbed up a rope suspended from the ceiling using their hands and feet. The athlete who reached the top first was declared the winner. Simple!
Duelling Pistols – 1906, 1912
You have probably seen duelling pistols used in a movie or television show at some time or another. A duel is where two “gentlemen” decide to settle their disagreement by standing back to back and walking 10 paces. Once they reach ten paces they turn around and shoot at their opponent. Sure, this is a particularly deadly way of settling a minor dispute but duelling was actually an Olympic sport in 1906 and 1912.
The only difference to an actual duel to the death is that your opponent was a male mannequin dressed in a ladies frock along with a bulls-eye on its chest.
Club Swinging – 1932
Before you let your imagination run away with itself, club swinging has nothing at all to do with cavemen swinging clubs around.
Club swinging is similar to rhythmic gymnastics only instead of prancing around with a very long ribbon the competitor’s wave bowling pins around. Nowadays there is no club swinging competition in the Olympics. Instead, anyone who shows a talent for waving things around is employed to direct traffic.