With kitesurfing at least in the works for the Rio Olympics, and skateboarding will debut in 2020, it’s time to take a look at some of the Games’ weirdest sports – and weirdest moments.
With kiteboarding at least in the works for the Rio Olympics, and skateboarding will debut in 2020, it’s time to take a look at some of the Games’ weirder sports – and weirdest moments.
Emperor Nero was proclaimed the winner of the chariot race in AD 67 despite falling before the finish line. Tail violins. He had of course bribed or more likely simply threatened the officials. However, upon his death in AD 68 at the age of 30 – he committed suicide before being denounced as an enemy of Rome – he was deprived of his victory.
Forget the UFC, the contestants took part in the Pankration, an event that featured wrestling, punches, kicks and even choke holds. Sadly, during the 640 BC Olympics, an athlete named Arrichion was strangled to death AFTER his opponent submitted with a painfully dislocated toe. Arrichon received the match posthumously, his corpse crowned with olive leaves, and returned home to Phigalia as a hero.
THERE’S SOMETHING IN THE WATER
While much of the worry in Rio is what’s in the water, at the 1900 Olympics in Paris a bright spark decided to throw a few obstacles could enliven the 200m swim. The discipline took place on the Seine in the shadow of the newly built Eiffel Tower and competitors had to dive into murky water, climb a pole, cross a row of moored boats and then underwater for a while. The winner of the first and only gold medal in the hurdle in swimming was none other than Frederick Lane of Manly, who also won the 200m freestyle that year.
A BLOODY MESSAGE
There had been no opening or closing ceremony in Paris because it was within the framework of the Universal Exhibition, but there was still a spectacle. Almost 300 birds were slaughtered during the live pigeon shooting event which by all accounts left the sports arena in a bloody and feathery mess.
THE FIRST PARALYMPIAN
In 1904, George Eyser, an American gymnast born in Germany, won the gold medal in rope climbing despite a left wooden leg. Most notably, he also won the vault, which at the time consisted of jumping over a long horse without the aid of a springboard.
DUEL IN THE SUN
Athens in 1906 introduced the pistol duel, which the IOC refused to recognize as a sport. There were no fatalities, however, as the event forced shooters to shoot a mannequin dressed in a frock coat.
SLEEP IN EM
After losing the standoff at the London Games in 1908, the US team protested that the British police-only team was wearing illegal spiked boots. The British accepted revenge wearing only their socks – and they won anyway.
THE RAIN STOPS PLAYING
In 1908, typical British bad weather made fun of London’s idea of putting motorboats on the program. Six of the nine races had to be canceled and of the three completed, only one boat completed the course.
IN THE SWIM OF THINGS
Many viewers think synchronized swimming is pretty far-fetched, but in 1984 there was only one competitor on each team. It was certainly easier to sync to the music, but there was no security in the number if something went wrong. It was like that for three Games until it became the team event which still puzzles us today.
YOU MUST RIDE WITH IT
Fans of the sci-fi classic Rollerball, starring James Caan, were thrilled to find roller hockey on the schedule for the Barcelona Olympics in 1992. However, there was no beheading and the teams scored goals using it. a ball rather than a puck. And Argentina won, so that’s it.