10 Sports That Used To Be In The Olympics

Tug of war, an Olympic sport? In the early 20th century, it was.
Tug of war, an Olympic sport? In the early 20th century, it was.

The Olympic Games are international sporting competitions that feature winter and summer sports. Athletes from all over the world take part in many sporting events and represent their country at these important Games. The Olympics are held every two years, with the Summer and Winter Games each held every four years on alternating even-numbered years. The modern Olympic Games have undergone several changes since their re-introduction in Greece, with some games being added and some removed from the list of games. Some ancient sports have been omitted from the modern Olympics.

Dueling Pistols

Pistol duels made their debut in the Olympic Games of 1906 in Athens, Greece (no longer considered official Olympics Games). The game was not a duel as the participants shot at plastic dummies wearing frocks mounted at a distance of about 20 to 30 m. It was included again at the 1908 Olympics in London, then retired for good.

Distance Plunging

Distance plunging was part of the St. Louis Olympic Games in 1904. Participants were to jump in a pool from a standing position and glide underwater without paddling. The winner would be the individual who had covered the longest distance before coming up for air or after 60 seconds. Americans were the only athletes who participated in this sport, and it did not reappear in any subsequent Olympics as it was deemed an uninteresting sport for spectators.

Live Pigeon Shooting

At the sport shooting test of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janerio. Though shooting is still part of the Olympics programming, live targets are not. Image credit: A.RICARDO/Shutterstock

Live pigeon shooting made a debut at the 1900 Olympic Games in Paris, and participants were required to shoot at live pigeons. Live pigeons were released, and the participants were to aim at and kill the moving targets in nine different shooting events. About 300 birds were killed that day, in the first and only time animals were intentionally killed in Olympic Games. Animal rights activists succeeded in getting the targets switched to clay pigeons for the shooting events at subsequent Olympics.


Tug-of-war also made an appearance in the 1900 Paris Olympic Games. The sport was included in the Olympics for the next 20 years before making its final appearance at the Antwerp games of 1920. The game requirement was that the participating teams had to pull their opponents over a distance of six feet to be considered winners. If this did not happen during the allotted time, there would be an additional five minutes before the judges decided on the team that made the most progress as winners. The British team won the game twice.

Rope Climb

The rope climb was part of the 1896 Games in Athens, Greece. Competitors were required to climb a rope and were judged on their speed and technique. The sport was also included in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics, where participants were only judged on speed.


Croquet was part of the Paris Olympics in 1900, but proved to be an unpopular sport for athletes and spectators alike.

Croquet was one of the games in the 1900 Paris Olympics. All the competitors were from France, and from the look of things, it was not a popular sport as only one ticket to the event was sold.


Roque is more or less the American version of croquet, and the only participants in the sport were Americans. The sport made an appearance at the 1904 Olympic Games in St. Louis, and that was the last of it in the Olympics.

Horse Long Jump

The horse long jump was a sport in the 1900 Olympics in Paris. Horses were expected to leap, and the distance was measured. The sport was just like the human long jump.

Solo Synchronized Swimming

A contestant in the solo synchronized swimming event at the World Championship in Barcelona. Though solo synchronized swimming is no longer part of the Olympics, it is still included in synchronized swimming championships. Image credit: Maxisport/Shutterstock

Solo synchronized swimming debuted at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984. It was part of the Seoul Olympics in 1988 and made a final appearance in 1992 in Barcelona. The International Olympics Committee eventually determined that a swimmer performing solo does not have another athlete to be synchronized with, so they decided it could not be considered to be synchronized swimming. Team and two-person synchronized swimming events still exist at the Olympics.


Singlestick was a game in which opponents were required to try and hit each other using a blunt wooden stick. The game was included in the Olympic Games of 1904 in St. Louis, and that was the only appearance the sport had at the Olympics. It was included as part of the fencing programming, a sport that is still part of the Olympics.


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