10 of the Strangest Olympic Sports in History
1. 1900: Pigeon Shooting
Three hundred birds were killed in this one-time event during the 1900 Olympics in Paris. The killing of live animals has not been featured as part of the games before or since!
2. 1936: Kabaddi
This national sport of Bangladesh and Nepal was introduced to the world during a demonstration match at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games. A mix of rugby and wrestling, the tough sport of Kabaddi is still seeking international recognition.
3. 1896: Marathon Bicycle Race
The 1896 Summer Olympic Games in Athens featured a marathon bicycle race which lasted 12 hours. The event began at five in the morning, with four of the seven participants dropping out by noon. The winner, Adolf Schmal, logged 180 miles and was one of only two athletes to complete the race.
4. 1900 – 1920: Tug of War
Most of us have played Tug of War at one time or another, but it was actually an Olympic sport for twenty years. Two teams of eight competed to pull the opposition for six feet, and had five minutes in which to do it.
5. 1896 – 1932: Rope Climbing
Eliminated after the 1932 Games, rope climbing was part of the gymnastic program for five Olympics. The event involved the use of hands only to climb a vertically suspended rope.
6. 1906 and 1912: Duelling Pistols
Introduced at the 1906 Summer Olympic Games in Athens, the Duelling Pistols event required competitors to shoot at lifelike targets garbed in frock coats.
7. 1924: La Canne
Featured as a demonstration sport during the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris, La Canne is a martial art reminiscent of fencing which makes use of a cane, just as its name suggests.
8. 1992: Roller Hockey
A demonstration event during the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Roller Hockey is played on inline skates. In this event, Argentina won gold in a match-up with Portugal.
9. 1932: Club Swinging
Club Swinging was an gymnastic event at the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. Competitors used clubs much in the same way ribbons are used today, swinging them in various patterns during their routine.
10. 1900: Obstacle Swim
Swimming through an obstacle course was featured only once in the history of the Olympic Games. In 1900 the Paris games competitors battled over and under row boats and climbing poles during their course in the famous Seine River.