5 Weird Sports That Were In The Olympics

The first modern Olympics was held 120 years ago today.

It’s been exactly 120 years since the first Olympic Games were held in Athens in 1896. Since that time, the games have featured some sports you definitely wouldn’t expect.


Now relegated to the schoolyard, tug-of-war used to be an Olympic sport where teams of eight men stood on opposite sides of a thick rope and pulled. The sport was retired from the Olympics after the 1920 games.

Tug-of-war competition

Solo synchronised swimming

You heard that correctly. Synchronised swimming by yourself was an Olympic sport between 1984 and 1992. The sport consisted of one person dancing in the water, synchronising their moves to music.

Pistol duelling

This event at the 1906 Olympics might sound like something out of a violent movie, but the competitors actually shot their pistols at mannequins.

Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon  and two British fencing teammates


Unsurprisingly, this sport only made it into one Olympics, the 1900 games in Paris. Only one person purchased a ticket to the event.

Rope climbing

Yep, the hated rope climb you might remember from physical education classes used to be an official Olympic sport, starting at the Athens games in 1896. At first, competitors were judged on both style and speed, but later it became merely a race to the top.

Rope climbing

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