Olympic Games are considered to be the world’s foremost sports competition. It is a celebration of human excellence. So when hears of the following queer games, once played in the Olympics but later discontinued, one has to ask, ‘what on Earth were they thinking?’ Here is a list of the Top 10 Most Peculiar Olympic Games Of All Time.
Most Peculiar Olympic Games Of All Time
10. Plunging For Distance
The quirky nature of this sport was known to attract great popularity in the 19th and early part of the 20th century. It was quite simple, the participant had to plunge into the water and stay motionless for the next 60 seconds while gliding face-down across the water. It was the distance covered in the water without imparting any propulsion to the body from the arms and legs that came into count. The distance traveled in the 60 seconds was measured.
This game had a few variations too. Its soaring popularity made plunging for the distance an official event in the 1904 Summer Olympics but in later years the event was subjected to criticism as “not an athletic event at all.” So by the 1920s, it began losing its popularity and slowly disappeared. However, this game still holds its place among the top 10 most peculiar Olympic Games of all time.
9. Swimming Obstacle Race
This race, though fun was very exhaustive as well. The participants had to swim over 200 meters distance and the path was full of obstructions. The swimmers had to swim towards a pole, then climbing up the pole had to quickly decent down and scrambling over two boats then again under two more boats, and finally had to swim to the finish line.
The men’s 200-meter obstacle event in the 1900 Summer Olympics held in Paris was the only swimming obstacle race event in the history of the Olympics. Needless to say, it was discontinued thereafter. This game surely deserves its mention among the top 10 most peculiar Olympic Games of all time.
8. Rope Climb
Most people are aware of this adventure sport, but what they perhaps don’t know is that rope climbing was at one time an Olympic gymnastic event contested between 1896 and 1932. It requires training and strength to pull off this sports in which the competitors attempt to climb up a suspended rope using only their hands. Without any doubt, this game deserves its mention among the top 10 most peculiar Olympic Games of all time.
In the older version of the sport, the participant, upon reaching the top would have to touch the circular tambourine and several timers would halt their stopwatches at that precise moment. Later one official time was agreed on by the timers. Nowadays they simply use an electronic timer to count the time each participant takes to reach the top.
Interesting trivia – In a late 2011 interview with the Rolling Stone Magazine, George Clooney revealed having his first orgasm at the age of 6 or 7 while climbing a rope.
Having its origin in the 1880s, Roque became very popular in the first quarter of the 20th century, so much so that fans named it ‘the Game of the Century’. It was actually an American variation on the French sport of croquet and to be sure, the name itself was acquired by removing the letters ‘c’ & ‘t’ from croquet. The game is played with short-handled mallets on a hard court that is bounded by a concrete wall against which the ball rebounds and retrieves.
In the 1904 St. Louis Olympics, Roque was played with participants’ only from the US. The game is still played by a few people in the United States. However, this game deserves its mention among the top 10 most peculiar Olympic Games of all time.
Interesting trivia – Roque was mentioned in Stephen King’s novel ‘The Shining’. Though in the film version the character of Jack was shown wielding an axe in the book it was a roque mallet.
6. Jeu De Paume
Translated in English as ‘palm game’, Jeu de Paume’ was a ball game that originated in France. This game was a precursor of tennis but was played indoors and without any rackets. Initially played with bare hands, then gloved hands, following this came the small paddle which ultimately made way for the modern-day racket.
Even long after the introduction of rackets, the name remained ‘Jeu de Paume’, it was much later that the name changed to ‘tennis’. The game had its exhibition at the 1908 Summer Olympics. And again at the 1924 Summer Olympics, it was played as an exhibition event. It now holds its place among the top 10 most peculiar Olympic Games of all time.
5. Tug Of War
The tug of war is basically a rope pulling event that is something of a test of strength. The name sounds very dramatic for a game that merely involves two teams hauling at the opposite ends of a rope. It was only in the 19th century that the phrase ‘tug of war’ came to be associated with the game. However, it is one of the ancient Olympic games. But now, it holds its place among the top 10 most peculiar Olympic Games of all time.
Its exact origin is doubt-able but it is believed to have been practiced in ancient Egypt, Greece, and China. At one time, the Mohave Indians used this game to settle disputes. It was included in the Olympics of 1900, 1904, 1908, 1912 and 1920. In the 1908 Games, the London police force won the Gold medal.
4. Standing Triple Jump
In the past, there were as many as three tracks and field jumping events (long jump, high jump, and triple jump) that were done standing i.e. without the initial approach run-up. Standing triple jump being one of them was twice a part of the Olympics, in 1900 and 1904. The name is suggestive of three jumps involved, wherewith the first jump the participant had to land on a single preferred foot and in the next jump would have to land on the opposite foot.
In the final jump, the athlete would land on two feet. The participant who covered the longest of distance on 1 of the 3 or 6 attempts was announced the winner. The game is very uncommon today and though no longer, is it a part of the official competitive event. But, is still used as a training exercise.
3. Dueling Pistols
The name brings into mind a scene of some movie with two brave men, each with a pistol in his hand, each fighting for his honor, except that the game of dueling pistol involved only one man and another mannequin dressed in a frock coat. The shooting was done from a distance of 20 to 30 meters.
The mannequin’s throat was considered the bull’s eye. This game made its appearance at the unofficial Olympics 1906 Intercalated Games held in Athens. And then, it was last seen briefly at the 1912 games. This game now holds its place among the top 10 most peculiar Olympic Games of all time.
2. Solo Synchronized Swimming
The game of Solo synchronized swimming was made an official Olympic game in 1984 and then discontinued in 1992. In this game, competitors had to perform a kind of water ballet but solo. The swimmers had to sync in with the music played and that is just about the end of it.
One has to wonder what the organizers were thinking while including this sport in the Olympics. Besides, why did it take them three Olympics to understand that the solo synchronized swimming was not synchronizing with the Olympics standard?
1. Live Pigeon Shooting
As unbelievable as it may sound, but the Olympics had once encouraged the killing of animals and passed it as sports. Contested during the 1900 Olympic Games, the result was the death of over 300 pigeons. The rule was simple, to kill as many pigeons as possible. For a prize of 20,000 Frances, the shooter endeavored to shot every bird released one at a time from the traps. Any shooter missing two birds were eliminated.
Understandably, Animal rights activities made a huge row. And, that forced the organizers into introducing clay pigeons in place of the live one. This was the only (and hopefully the last) time Olympics had featured an animal killing game. The historians still dubbed it as one of the most violent sports of all time.
So, here goes our list of the top 10 most peculiar Olympic Games of all time. We hope you liked our list. Don’t forget to send us your opinion in the comment box below.