The ten weirdest occasions in Olympic Video games historical past: from pistol duelling to poodle clipping
So Tokyo 2020 is upon us, albeit a yr late. I plan to spend just about the whole thing of the 16 days sitting on my ever-expanding posterior as I eat crisps and biscuits and drink no matter is chilly and close by, watching good athletes do extraordinary issues. The Olympics is the best sporting spectacle on the planet.
However it’s also a bloated, bizarre, cumbersome occasion, rising bigger at each iteration, drunk by itself self-importance and determined to develop. At Rio in 2016 there have been 28 sports activities represented. This time, there will likely be 33 and a few of the occasions are, let’s face it, somewhat eccentric. BMX freestyle… Skateboarding… Browsing… Why not simply embrace the entire “dude” tradition and have dope smoking as an occasion? And as for rhythmic gymnastics, that one the place they prance about with ribbons, or dressage, the place horses stroll weirdly to music… are they actually sports activities? How lengthy till the winner of Strictly Come Dancing earns an Olympic medal?
Nonetheless, these occasions seem like the epitome of athletic endeavour compared to sure Olympic contests that had been (or, in a few circumstances, “are”) fairly frankly, ridiculous. Take a gander at this checklist of sporting lunacy…
10. Solo synchronised swimming
OK, synchronised swimming in itself is a weird inclusion within the Olympics. Why is dancing in water (or, certainly, on a horse or on ice) thought-about an Olympic sport, however ballroom dancing just isn’t? (Please, please don’t take this as an entreaty to incorporate ballroom dancing.) And why, if it’s a sport, isn’t there a males’s occasion? However that’s neither right here nor there. The true level is, the thought of synchronised swimming is to have a complete crew of individuals performing in excellent unison – synchronicity, if you’ll. The clue is within the identify. And but, someway, the Olympic overlords determined that solo synchronised swimming was worthy of inclusion in 1984. And 1988. And 1992. Oh, and the nostril clips look silly.
9. Horse lengthy bounce and horse excessive bounce
I’m not an enormous fan of equestrian sports activities on the whole. It appears to me that the horse does all of the work and the rider will get the trinkets and the glory. You by no means see a prime showjumping pony getting its marriage ceremony featured in OK! Journal or participating in A Query Of Sport. However I’m ready to confess that they will make for a level of pleasure. Horse lengthy bounce and horse excessive bounce, although? That’s plain bizarre. I suppose you might have gone the entire hog and had horse pole vaulting too, however that one would solely be open to stallions. These leaping occasions passed off in Paris in 1900. Take notice, as a result of that video games will characteristic once more. And once more. And once more.
8. Plunge for distance
There’s no denying that is fairly a enjoyable recreation. I play it with my children typically, however I additionally play Scrabble with them and that’s not an Olympic sport. But on the 1904 video games in St Louis, rivals needed to dive within the pool and see how far they might drift underwater till they surfaced, as much as a most of a minute later. All 5 contestants had been from America and the occasion was gained by William Dickey, with a distance of 62.5 ft.
7. 3,000m steeplechase
Possibly it is a little bit of bitter grapes on my half. I’m a giant athletics fan and it is a sport that Britain has as a lot of an opportunity of medalling in as we do of successful the Eurovision Tune Contest anytime quickly. However with its hurdles and water bounce, it’s principally an assault course. Why not chuck in a bit the place they should do egg and spoon or crawl beneath a web?
6. Reside pigeon capturing
We’re again at Paris 1900 once more, for presumably essentially the most shameful occasion in Olympic historical past. The item of the game, as you will have guessed, was to kill as many pigeons as potential. Contestants had been eradicated in the event that they missed two in a row. The occasion was gained by Belgium’s Leon de Lunden, who managed to euthanise 21 pigeons on his method to avian-slaughtering glory. By the tip of the occasion, greater than 300 mangled pigeons had been useless on the sector. What a noble endeavour.
5. Fashionable pentathlon
This occasion, nonetheless going at the moment, is about as trendy as a cave portray. It’s based mostly upon the navy necessities for an excellent cavalryman and everyone knows how helpful a cavalry is within the trendy age – simply ask the Gentle Brigade. Members participate in swimming, fencing, showjumping, long-distance working and pistol capturing. It’s all so random. Why not chuck in ping-pong and weight-lifting?
4. Pistol duelling
This one passed off on the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm. It wasn’t fairly as thrilling because it sounds, as individuals weren’t really firing at one another, which would definitely have added a component of jeopardy to proceedings. As an alternative, the courageous males participating needed to fireplace at mannequins wearing frock coats (duelling being the game of gents) with targets painted on their chests. What a waste of a pleasant frock coat.
3. 200m swimming impediment race
And so we return, with heavy hearts, to Paris in 1900 once more. Swimmers needed to climb up a pole, clamber over a row of boats and swim beneath one other row of boats in a type of Olympic model of the Eighties children TV present We Are The Champions. On this occasion, the champion was Australian Fred Lane. The occasion passed off within the Seine, which was applicable sufficient for such an insane endeavour. (Sure, I did simply make that joke…)
How is that this occasion nonetheless going? It’s utterly baffling. Principally, it’s a race, however you’re not allowed to run, a bit like having a Components One Grand Prix the place you need to keep in first gear. Rivals, state the principles, are required to “Keep contact with the bottom and straighten their entrance knee when the foot makes contact with the bottom, retaining it straightened till the knee passes beneath the physique.” Walkers look completely daft as they shuffle alongside wiggling their bums and the entire fiasco is heightened by the truth that they are often given yellow or pink playing cards for not sticking to the definition of strolling. Why cease at strolling? Why not a hopping race or a backwards race?
1. Poodle clipping
In fact, there is just one place we might end. You guessed it, Paris 1900. This was, admittedly, solely a take a look at occasion, which means it didn’t have full Olympic standing, they had been simply attempting it out for the next video games. Mystifyingly, it didn’t make the minimize. It concerned 128 rivals performing in entrance of a crowd of 6,000 within the Bois De Boulogne park, the place they needed to clip the fur off as many poodles as they might in two hours. So many questions come to thoughts. How might they make sure the poodles had been the identical measurement? Had been all of them equally docile? And, most significantly, why in God’s identify had been they doing this? Not that winner Avril Lafoule minded, after successful gold with a complete of 17 clipped poodles. Beat that, Tokyo.
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