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10 Odd Discontinued Olympic Sports

By Edited Mar 16, 2016 2 10

The Olympics have had a lot of odd sports which have been part of the Olympic Games over the years.

Here are 10 odd Olympic sports inspired from the Original Greek Olympics, clear on up to the modern Olympics, and some of the demonstration sports.

Here are the top 10 odd discontinued Olympic sports.


10. Bird Hunting

Olympics pigeon shooting

At the 1900 Olympics pigeon shooting was an accrual event. At the 1900 Olympics in Paris, France over 300 pigeons were shot and killed as part of the competition. There were over 30 unofficial shooting games held at the Olympics. There is still some debate whether the Pigeon Shooting was part of the actual games or was an unofficial even that was held. Either way, the Pigeon Shooting even did occur.

Killing pigeons for sport is common; however shooting Pigeons at the Olympics and the method in which it was done is definitely odd. Pigeons were released in masses and whichever shooter shot the most pigeons won. If they missed 2 pigeons then they were eliminated. It was truly a bloody mess.

9. Standing Triple Jump

Olga Rypakova

At the 1900 and 1904 Olympics the Standing Triple Jump was an event that was held. What makes the Standing Triple Jump an odd sport is that there is no running approach. Participants start from a dead-stand and simply go as far as they can. It looks kind of like kids goofing around on the playground at recess.

8. Water Obstacle Course

Swimming at 1900 Olympics

Water Obstacle Course Obstacle courses are common. The United States Marines use obstacle courses as part of their core training. Swimming is also common. An odd obstacle course combined with swimming makes for an odd sport. This was an obstacle course combined with the swimming and it was definitely strange.

In 1900 the participants in the water obstacle course had to climb a pole, slide down the pole, swim to some boats, jump on the boats and run across them, jump back into the water, and then repeat the process. They also had to swim under some of the boats. All of this was done in the dirty and muddy waters of the Seine River.

7. Pankration


In the ancient Olympic Games the Greeks had an even called Pankration. Pankration was basically the original mixed martial arts. Kicking, punching, boxing, and wrestling were all allowed. You could not gouge your opponent’s eyes out; however other than eye gouging almost any other moved were allowed regardless of how violent they were. Here's the kicker, the men who were fighting each other were usually nude. Pankration can be defined as Extreme MMA with no rules and doing it naked.

6. Motorboat Racing

Motorboat Racing

In 1900 boat racing was featured as a demonstration sport at the Olympics. In 1908 there were 4 different boat racing events that were part of the actual Olympics and were official sports that year. The motorboat racing was unique because it is the only time in the history of the Olympics that had motorized vehicles as an event. This was the first and last year that motorized events were held. The International Olympic Committee decided that the Olympics should not be the proper venue for motorized sports.

5. Skijoring


Skijoring was a demonstration sport at the 1928 Winter Olympics. Skijoring at the 1928 Winter Olympics was where an athlete on skis was being pulled by a horse. Skijoring can also be done by being pulled by other animals such as dogs, but at the 1928 Olympics it was horses that were pulling the skiers around the course. Skijoring is still a popular sport in some Countries; however the Olympics is not a place you may ever see people on skis getting yanked around a course by equine.

4. Ski Ballet


Ski Ballet was a demonstration sport during the 1988 and the 1992 Olympics. Ski Ballet is also called acroski. Ski Ballet is stupid. Skiing is cool and ballet is actually pretty awesome. When you combine skiing and ballet you get a very odd sport. I guess this demonstration sport did not go over to well because it has not been a demonstration sport at the Olympics since 1992.

3. Pigeon Racing

Pigeon Racing

In 1900 one of the demonstration sports was Pigeon Racing. Not much is known about what actually occurred. Did the pigeon racing come before the pigeon shooting? How do we demonstrate our athletic prowess by racing pigeons? Did the numerous pigeons crap on the audience? Did anyone even show up to watch pigeon racing? Pigeon Racing was an official demonstration sport in the 1900 Olympics, and it definitely qualifies as one of the 10 odd discontinued sports.

2. Golf


Golf is not an odd sport. The reason that Golf makes this list of odd discontinued Olympic Sports is because it was played at the 1900 and 1904 Olympics and then was discontinued. Golf will be played once again at the 2016 Olympics. Waiting 112 years to once again play one of the most popular sports in the world is very odd. Why did it take 112 years for Golf to return to the Olympics?

1. Tug of war

Tug Of War 1904 Olympics

Between 1900-1920 Tug Of War was played at all of the Olympics. Each club could enter, so a Country could win multiple medals. In 1904 the United States won all three podium spots and then in 1908 the British swept the top three spots.

Tug of War is a popular game with school children and at scout camps. When adults play tug of war at the Olympics this seems very odd to us today; however back when this event was held at the Olympics it was not seen as peculiar or odd.

Comments about the Odd Discontinued Olympic Sports are welcomed
Please make some comments about Old and New Sports at the Olympics. Or write about your favorite athlete participating in the 2012 London Olympic Games.
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Another InfoBarrel Article of mine presents some female athletes the 10 Hot Olympic Athletes, I look forward to learn about their results during the 2012 London Olympics.



May 15, 2012 7:47am
I never heard of half of those "sports". I would love to see tug-of-war make a comeback!
May 15, 2012 11:05am
Thank you for the comment! Yes the tug-of-war would be fun to watch (maybe even on a rainy day)
May 15, 2012 11:37am
That was interesting. I hadn't heard of half of them and certainly wouldn't have expected them to be Olympic sports.
May 16, 2012 4:40am
Thank you for the comment. Yes, I agree that some of them are really odd! It is a surprise that they ever made it to the Olympics, because they may hardly be called sports.
May 16, 2012 5:27am
Little did I know that when I was complaining in school of how useless tug-of-war was, it was actually an olympic sport! Interesting.
May 17, 2012 2:51pm
Thank you for the comment! I don't find 'tug of war' useless. However, I doubt that it will be back as an Olympic Competition.
May 22, 2012 12:05pm
Wow...when they reintroduce the egg-and-spoon race I'm going for gold.
May 23, 2012 1:10pm
Thank you for the comment! I am sure that will bring a gold medal to Scotland.
Jun 5, 2012 4:02am
Very interesting and bizarre collection of sports. I wonder how many more there are.
Jun 5, 2012 5:00am
Thank you for the comment. Yes, some of the are very bizarre sports.
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