The Olympics represent one of the best tournaments in the world of competitive sport. It’s the perfect occasion to bring athletes from all nations together in competition. The Olympics are hugely important and throw up quite a few inspirational underdog stories. We all know about the popular events of the Olympics, such as the 100 meters and the long jump. But, there are plenty of unusual events that have popped up in past Olympics as well, and here is a list of some of them.
Swimming obstacle course
Again, the Paris Games in 1900 was the setting for this weird and wonderful event in which competitors had to swim a 200-meter assault course up the Seine River. This was the first and only time the event took place, likely due to health and safety constraints, and Fred Lane of Australia scooped the gold medal.
Tug of War
Yes, believe it or not, Tug Of War was actually a legitimate Olympic Event from 1900 up until 1920. Two teams of 8 competitors were given five minutes to pull their opponents over a line and claim victory. Two of the most memorable events came in 1904 when the United States claimed gold, and 1908 when Great Britain took on Ireland in London.
This is also a strange choice to have as an Olympic event, an event where competitors dive into the water and then proceed to glide as far as they can beneath the surface. The event appeared just once, with the winner gliding a staggering 62 feet 6 inches.
As strange as it sounds, croquet was actually once an Olympic sport. It appeared in just one games – see if you can guess which! This is the first Olympic event in which women were allowed to compete, but not in their own competitions. The event was promptly canceled after attracting just a single interested spectator.
Standing high jump
Think about how ridiculous this event would have been, as well as how difficult it would be! The standing high jump was a staple of track and field events from its inception in 1900 up until 1912. It was the perfect showcase for a fit and healthy athlete – the event was dominated by Ray Ewry of the United States.
Imagine the cycling events in today’s Olympics but if they were tandem events! That’s basically the idea of this event, where duos had to race over 2,000 meters on a bike. This was a big part of the Olympics and ran from 1908 up until 1972 when it was scrapped.
Swimming underwater only appeared at one Olympic Games (1900) again and saw competitors swimming beneath the surface of the River Seine for as long as they could. They would attempt to swim up to 60 meters, gaining points based on the distance swam. This is an event we’re sure they could bring back in the modern Olympic Games.