My adoration for sports is well-known with regular readers. To my way of thinking, sitting on a couch and watching strangers engage in physical activity whose resulting victory or loss has no bearing on my existence is a pleasant and harmless way to while away one's life. Many would agree I'm one of the biggest athletic supporters in the financial blogosphere.
And, with the Olympics kicking off today, I thought it would be a fine time to look back at some of the prior events which, for various reasons, have been excused from the competition. Yes, these are real.
+ Underwater Swimming – held only once, in 1900. "The event is held over a maximum of 60m, where competitors were awarded two points for each meter swum underwater, and one point for each second that they stayed under water."
+ Rope Climbing – "part of the gymnastics program in 1896, 1904, 1906, 1924 and 1932. In this event the competitors climbed a suspended vertical rope, using only their hands."
+ All-Around Dumbbell Contest – held only in 1904. How'd you like to be the gold medal winner in a sport with a name like that?
+ Live Pigeon Shooting – the only competition in which live animals were killed. Held only once, again in 1900, "Nearly 300 birds were killed. The event turned out to be quite messy in the end with dead or injured birds on the ground and blood and feathers all over the place."
+ Croquet – which holds the distinction of being far and away the most unpopular sport. "This tournament was also not a success with the spectators. Only one fan watched the events – an Englishman who had travelled from Nice especially for the occasion."
+ Motorboating – another dud, this time from 1908 in England. "It was not a great spectator sport either, with the action taking place off Southampton, where virtually no one could see the action. Due to bad weather, six out of the nine scheduled races were cancelled"