Tug-of-War, Speed Walking and more. It pays to know a little bit about the history of the Olympics, if only for the sake of laughing at all the strange sports that found their way into the games. if you’ve ever wondered about the strange and wonderful world of Olympic race walking, archery, and the wacky faces made by synchronized swimmers, here’s a quick guide to understanding the history of some of the craziest Olympic sports, some of which are still around today.
1. Speed Walking
Not quite running but far from a leisurely walk, competitors power-wiggle their way to the finish line, keeping one foot on the ground at all times. It’s also known as race walking, and can be seen at the games this year.
This takes serious skill, and is part of the epic gymnastics world. It just seems too fun to be an actual sport. You’ll be seeing this sport in Rio this year as well. Fun fact: the sport is pretty new to the Olympics. It debuted in 2000 in Sydney.
3. Pigeon Shooting
As sad as this sounds, it was real back in 1900. We’re not talking about clay pigeons either. The Olympic Games in Paris, France was the only time this sport was a thing, but shooting (non-living targets) is still around today.
4. Synchronized Swimming
You have to admit, as weird as this is to watch, it’s pretty mesmerizing. The facial expressions are amazing, and we cannot wait to see more of them in the games this year. It’s been a part of the games since 1984, which might be why those insanely colored swimsuits look the way they do.
5. La Canne
Believe it or not, this is a French sport that involves swinging a flippin’ cane at your opponent. Literally, grandpas gone wild. While it’s not an Olympic sport anymore, the closest thing you can watch today would be fencing. This badassery debuted at the Olympic Games in 1924 as a demonstration sport, which means it was played for the purpose of awareness and promotion.
This is one of those events that’s still around but seems pretty old fashioned. Technically, that’s because it is, having made it’s Olympic debut in 1900. Pretty creative time for the games that year.
7. Roller Hockey
This was a real event in 1992 when the Summer Olympics were held in Barcelona. This was also a demonstration sport, like La Canne, and honestly, we’re bummed this isn’t a thing anymore.
8. Modern Pentathlon
How can someone be this good at so many things? Unlike many of the events on this list, expect to see this one in Rio this year. Competitors complete not one, not two, but five activities, all in the same dang day. What are these activities exactly? Fencing, riding a horse, taking a swim, going for a run and shooting some guns. We’re out of breath just looking at that list.
9. Rope Climb
This was considered a gymnastics event back in the 1896 Olympics. Yes, the same rope climb they made you do in middle school. Woof.
This was a Track and Field event in 1900, 1904, 1906, 1908, 1912 and ended in 1920. Please bring this back right away.
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