10 Ridiculous Former Olympic Sports
With the Olympics only 2 weeks away, I thought it would be appropriate to pay homage to those “sports” of yesteryear with a look back at the top 10 craziest, most ridiculous discontinued Olympic sports.
#10 Roller Hockey – Ice hockey’s slow cousin, roller hockey was only an Olympic sport for 1 year before the powers that be decided it was just too painfully boring to watch. 12 nations competed in the first and last showing of the sport with Argentina walking away with the gold followed by host country Spain taking the silver and Italy bringing home the bronze…..Try being an Italian roller hockey player trying to pick up chicks with “I got a bronze medal in roller hockey” .
#9 Ballooning – Yes, you read that right….hot air ballooning was an official Olympic sport in the 1900 Paris games. Not sure what the object was but officially, there are no records on which nations competed in the sport that has to be as exciting as listening to hair grow. Crazy French.
#8 Basque Pelota - 1 part Tennis, 1 part Racquetball. This game has the best of both worlds….if there is such a thing. This non-stop action game was first introduced at the Olympics in Paris, 1924. It was only played twice more. Once in Mexico City in 1968 and again in Barcelona in 1992 before officials pulled the plug. Apparently, they couldn’t get enough nations to participate. Imagine that.
#7 Water Motorsports – Yes, this was an Olympic sport in 1908 London. Only 2 nations competed…Britain and surprise, surprise….France. Immediately after Britain took home the gold, the sport was officially sunk by the committee…..total pun intended.
#6 Glima – Glima is the Icelandic sport of folk wrestling. The object was for two men to remain completely upright while trying to get any part of the other competitor’s body to touch the floor all the while circling each other. One major rule….you had to circle the other man in a clockwise motion or else be disqualified. Today you can still catch this sport at any number of alternative lifestyle clubs across the country. Luckily for us, it was only at sport at the Stockholm games of 1912 before the wrestled with the notion that…..maybe, just maybe, nobody wants to see that.
#5 Korfball – Consider Korfball the red-headed step child of our basketball. The rules are basically the same. However, each team must be made up of 2 men and 2 women. There is also no running or dribbling allowed. The ball is advanced only by passing. Also, the goal is on a pole in the middle of the court rather than each end. In that aspect, I guess it is NOTHING like basketball. It was only an Olympic sport in the 1920 games in Antwerp and again in 1928 in Amsterdam. The game itself is still played all over Scandinavia to this day with championship leagues in existence….can you imagine the “Lebron James” of Korfball?
#4 Finnish Baseball - Much like American Baseball except the base paths are different and instead of a pitcher, the batter throws the ball up in the air vertically before attempting to hit it. I guess in some ways its like stick ball you use to play on the street. This Finnish version of our national past time was only an Olympic sport for 1 year in 1952 in, you guessed it, Helsinki Finland. Nice try. Maybe if pickling herring were a sport the Finnish would probably dominate.
#3 La Canne – Once again we venture back to the land of snails and berets, France. This is the french version of fencing, if you want to call it that. Basically the object is to beat another person senseless with a cane. Unfortunately, the committee no longer wanted to see feminine men beat the crap out of each other with canes and canceled the event after the 1924 games in Chamonix.
#2 Australian Rules Football – Okay, this is probably the only sport on this list I actually wouldn’t mind watching in an Olympic setting. The best of Soccer and American Football combined! Unfortunately, the committee didn’t see it that way and ended the game after it’s first showing in Melbourne in 1956.
#1 Tug-o-war – Its not just for backyard BBQ’s and awkward company picnics anymore. Tug-o-war was actually an Olympic sport from 1900-1920 with The United States and Great Britain winning the most medals. I’m afraid I’d rather watch French men beat each other with canes than tug-o-war.
So we have plenty to thank the Olympic committee for. With these 10 sports (with the exception of Aussie Football) you’d probably be pretty hard pressed to find anyone looking forward to the Olympics. However, that certainly leaves room for other developing sports to make their debut. Perhaps full contact Chess or Synchronized back shaving? All I know is next time I hear someone say “I’d rather watch paint dry” I’m going to show them this list and make them prove it.