The Olympics is not only an important sporting event. Even in antiquity, during the competition, even wars stopped. Today, the Olympic Games are an important political and business event, to which glances from around the world are riveted. It’s no wonder that everyone wants to get there, and a medal of any dignity can significantly change the fate of the athlete. Leading countries pay tens of thousands of dollars for awards of the highest dignity.
Today there are more and more new sports that are striving to become Olympic, even if at the expense of financial assistance to the Olympic Committee. But when, more than a century ago, on the initiative of Baron Coubertin, there was a revival of the ancient Greek practice of competitions, the list of amateur sports was completely different than now. Then the Olympics was surrounded by a completely different atmosphere – there was no advertising, no television.
Over time, the Games themselves invariably evolved – new sports appeared in the program, others disappeared. Plunged into the history of the Olympics, you can find there a lot of amazing competitions, let them be some of them and were only indicative. These unusual sports have long since disappeared from a wide field of view, and in fact once they were awarded full-fledged medals for them.
Swimming with obstacles.
The first Olympiads were largely trial, so mistakes became their integral part. In 1900 the Games were hosted by Paris, but they were generally considered an addition to the World Exhibition. Water competitions took place on the river Seine. In their number included and swimming for 200 meters with obstacles. Only 12 athletes representing 5 countries took part in them. And the winner was Australian Frederick Lane. At the same time on the river route swimmers were asked to overcome the most unusual obstacles. Initially, the athletes had to scramble to the pole, from which they then descend back into the water. Then on the way the Olympians got up boats, which had to climb, and then jump back to the Seine. The next group of boats stood in order for the athletes to swim under them with an orange clamped in something other than their hands. Some managed to push the fruit in front of them like seals. The distance totaled 10 laps of 20 meters, while a quarter of the way was supposed to swim against the Seine. Poor Olympians competed in extreme conditions, because in this river the Parisians in those years still drained the sewage and slops. I must say that this kind of sport in the Olympics program was visited for the first and last time. Probably, the sensation from swimming with obstacles in water with feces had a strong impression on the organizers.
Jumping in depth.
At the next Olympics, taking place in America, a new water sport appeared. And in this case, the Games were timed to coincide with the World Exhibition, and they were held in the cities of Chicago and St. Louis. True, that Olympiad turned out to be very strange – almost no one came from Europe and Asia to it, so the competitions were held at the local level, and they also stretched out for a long 5 months. There were practically no public at stadiums. Representatives of the “colored” nations, Americans with their inherent racism then handed not their medals, but their striped-star flags. Among these athletes belonged to the Eskimos or Pygmies from African colonies who fired from the bow. White people were entertaining themselves in this boredom, than horrible. One of such unusual sports became competitions on diving in depth. The rules here were simple – it was necessary to climb the platform and jump into the water as deep as possible, while it was forbidden to help yourself with legs or hands. And to stay under water followed a minute from the moment of entering the water. These competitions were more dangerous than interesting. And only 5 sportsmen took part in them, they all represented the USA. Although then no one drowned, the organizers of the next Olympics decided not to include such a boring sport in the program.
This game reminds both baseball and squash.Initially, it was a national Basque hobby especially for young children. But at the 1900 Olympics in France, adults also played in the pelota. The fact is that the proud Basques lived near Paris, demanding compliance with their own national sporting interests. As a result, in competitions for this outlandish game participated only two teams – Spain and France. In the pelota play a hard rubber ball. Players on the field in each team was two people. The pelotarians are equipped with a hi-tech, this bit-trap holds in its hands. Before the athletes installed a wall 9 meters high, about which you need to hit the ball. The opponent must beat him either from the air or after one blow to the floor. The judge looked at these competitions with boredom, awarding penalty points only on the basis of the sounds of strikes against the voiced floor. The loser was the one who will miss the ball 60 times. In total, the second Olympiad played one match in the pelota. In the history there is not even a final score of that match. It is known only that the Spaniards defeated the French. There was simply no one to compete for the bronze medal. There was practically no spectators at that game, it’s not surprising – after all, all the respectable ladies and gentlemen were walking at the World Exhibition. It should be noted that the pelota still appeared on the Olympics in 1924, 1968 and 1992 in the form of demonstration competitions.
This sport proved to be extremely uninteresting, there was nothing to look at at all. Simply because to see at that time, in the absence of television nothing was impossible. And again the action took place in 1900 in Paris. 14 sportsmen from 4 countries participated in the competition, however, 11 participants represented France. The Olympians dived into the waters of the Seine, seeking to stay in it as long as possible or swim as far as possible. Each second of the stay underwater was estimated at 1 point, and each overcome meter – in 2. Poor fans were forced to just look at the river for a couple of minutes, waiting for the appearance of athletes and the announcement of the results. The competitions were extremely boring. In addition, the organizers made a mistake, not taking into account natural factors. After all, the river was quite strong current. The winner was Charles de Vandville, who grew up on the Seine. He swam 60 meters in 68 seconds. The silver medalist overcame the same distance faster for 3 seconds. But the bronze medalist, the Dane Lyckeberg, chose a different tactic. He stayed underwater for the longest time – 90 seconds, though he only surmounted 28 meters.
Diving for range.
In 1904, scuba diving was decided to be modified. In St. Louis, athletes dived at a distance. Participants jumped into the pool and continued to move by inertia without the help of hands and feet. The winner was the one who in a minute will be farthest from all the rest. In 1904, only 5 sportsmen participated in this strange sport, they all represented the United States. The winner with a result of 19 meters was William Dickey.
Single synchronized swimming.
Unusual sports appeared at the Olympics not only at the beginning of the last century. One feature of the 1984 Games in Los Angeles was a single synchronized swimming. Unfortunately, Soviet athletes skipped that Olympics for political reasons. Organizers, most likely, decided to compensate for the lack of strong participants with original sports. So in the program there was a synchronized swimming, and already in it competed duets. Two girls with clothespins on their noses from different teams entered the pool, somersaulting and dancing there to the music. The winner was the one who did the best. The very name of this sport sounded like a strange joke. One could call it at least a “water ballet”. But only after 1992 from the Olympic program the solo synchronized swimming disappeared completely. The reasons for this were quite simple – low entertainment, a controversial subjective scoring system.In addition, the judges themselves sometimes did not restrain laughter, watching the two-minute performances of athletes. And officials from the IOC eventually realized that this kind has little to do with synchronous swimming.
Shooting in pigeons.
Today we are used to the fact that the arrows aim at special targets. But it was not always so. The Olympics in Paris in 1900 went down in history by the fact that they deliberately killed living creatures. The ability to hit pigeons was judged. That Olympiad cost the lives of 300 innocent birds. Only one winner, the Belgian Leon de Lunden, shot 21 pigeons. Later, the place of birds was replaced by special target-plates, and the sport was transformed into bench shooting.
How this sport got to the Olympics in 1936 in Berlin remains a mystery. It’s good that it ended in demonstration performances. The fact is that in kabaddi they play mainly in Asia. This team game only today becomes popular, only in 2004 the first world championship was held. The attacking player must reach the other half of the area, touching as many opponents as possible. At this time, as his partners are using wrestling methods to stop rivals, not allowing them to fall asleep. At the same time, athletes also chant mantras.
12-hour bicycle race.
At the 1896 Olympic Games in Athens, cycling was not the same as we know them today. In this sport, 7 participants got on their bikes at 5 am and had to drive up to 17 pm on a 333-meter long circle. But before noon, four Olympians had left the race. As a result, in the race for survival the entire participant finished. In the supermarathon, the Austrian Adolf Schmal, who managed to drive about 180 miles, won. His main rival, the Englishman Kipping, the winner outperformed by 1 round. Besides that, there was still bad weather. This, as well as the monotony of the competition itself, frightened off the audience.
Tug of war.
Who said that this is a traditional Russian sport? It turns out that he was present in the program of the Olympics in Ancient Greece in 500 BC. By pulling the rope competed in our time already – from 1900 to 1920 years. Two teams of eight people pull a thick rope until one of the sides moves it at least 2 meters. If, however, no one succeeds in 5 minutes, then the winner is the party that achieved maximum progress. Even in such a peace-loving sport there was a scandal. In 1908, the Liverpool police team competed in special shoes, which in principle were severely torn from the ground. But the rules stipulate the use of ordinary footwear. Despite the protests from rivals from the United States, the result was counted. As a result, the whole pedestal was taken by the hosts, the English. It is noteworthy that it was in this discipline that in 1900 the first debut of a black athlete took place at the Olympic Games. They became Constantine Henriques de Zubier.
This sport was present for as many as 5 Olympics – competed in it in 1896, 1904, 1906, 1924 and 1932. Participants had to climb vertically the rope to a height of 14 meters, using only their hands. Not only speed, but also style was assessed. Over time, this subjective assessment was abandoned, given only pure time. After all, some athletes spent not lifting too much time, paying attention to the beauty of their movements. After 1896, the distance was reduced to 8 meters. And the first champion in this sport was the Greek Nikolai Andriakopulos. Then only two members were able to get to the top.
Duel on the pistols.
Fortunately, the participants did not shoot each other in this sport. There were such competitions at the Olympics twice – in 1906 and 1912. Athletes aimed at mannequins with targets attached to the chest area. Just like modern policemen in a dash.Participants fired from a distance of 20 and 30 meters.
Exercises with maces.
These competitions were present in the Olympics program from 1904 to 1936. It used not so light skittles as in rhythmic gymnastics. Movement, of course similar, only the maces themselves are much heavier. Such exercises were part of the gymnastics. In 1932 the American became George Roth. Newspapers wrote about him that in the midst of the Great Depression the man was left without work, and without means of subsistence. He had nothing to do and took up this strange sport. After Roth received his medal, he went straight home from the stadium in Los Angeles, hitchhiking.