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The Olympics are not only an important sporting event. Even in ancient times, wars even stopped during competitions. Today, the Olympic Games are an important political and business event, to which eyes are riveted from all over the world. It is not surprising that everyone wants to get there, and even a medal of any dignity can noticeably change the fate of an athlete. Leading countries pay tens of thousands of dollars for awards of the highest dignity.
Today more and more new kinds of sports appear, which strive to become Olympic, even if at the expense of financial assistance to the Olympic Committee. But when more than a century ago, at the initiative of Baron Coubertin, the ancient Greek practice of competitions was revived, the list of amateur sports was completely different than now. Then the Olympics were surrounded by a completely different atmosphere - there were no advertisements or television.
Over time, the Games themselves invariably evolved - new sports appeared in the program, others disappeared. These unusual sports have long disappeared from the wide field of vision, and after all, once they were awarded full-fledged medals.
Swimming with obstacles. The first Olympics were largely tentative, so mistakes became an integral part of them. In 1900, the Games were hosted by Paris, but they were generally considered an addition to the World's Fair. Water competitions took place on the Seine River. Among them was swimming 200 meters with obstacles. Only 12 athletes from 5 countries took part in them. Australian Frederick Lane became the winner. At the same time, on the river route, swimmers were asked to overcome the most unusual obstacles. Initially, athletes had to climb onto a pole, from which they then descend back into the water. Then boats stood in the way of the Olympians, on which they had to climb, and then jump back into the Seine. The next group of boats stood for the athletes to sail under them with an orange clutched by something besides their hands. Some managed to push the fruit in front of them with their noses, like seals. The distance consisted of 10 circles of 20 meters each, while a quarter of the way was supposed to swim against the stream of the Seine. Poor Olympians competed in extreme conditions, because the Parisians in those years still poured sewage and slop into this river. I must say that this kind of sport was in the Olympics program for the first and last time. Probably the sensation of swimming with obstacles in water with feces made a strong impression on the organizers.
Depth jump. At the next Olympics in America, a new water sport emerged. And in this case, the Games were timed to coincide with the World Exhibition, and they were held in the cities of Chicago and St. Louis. True, that Olympics turned out to be very strange - from Europe and Asia practically no one came to it at all, so the competitions were held at the local level, moreover, they stretched for 5 long months. There was practically no public at the stadiums. The Americans with their inherent racism then handed over to the representatives of the "colored" peoples not medals, but their striped-star flags. These athletes included the Eskimos or pygmies from the African colonies who shot from a bow. White people, on the other hand, amused themselves in this boring thing with anything. One of these unusual sports is the deep jumping competition. The rules were simple - you had to climb onto the platform and jump into the water as deep as possible, while it was forbidden to help yourself with your feet or hands. And it was necessary to stay under water for a minute from the moment of entering the water. These competitions were more dangerous than interesting. Only 5 athletes took part in them, they all represented the United States. Although no one drowned then, the organizers of the next Olympics decided not to include such a boring sport in the program.
Pelota. This game is reminiscent of both baseball and squash. It was originally a national Basque hobby especially for young children. But at the 1900 Olympics in France, adults also played pelota. The fact is that the proud Basques lived near Paris, demanding that their own national sports interests be respected. As a result, only two teams - Spain and France - took part in the competition in this outlandish game. Pelota is played with a hard rubber ball. There were two players on the field in each team. Pelotari are equipped with a hiestra, this trap bat is held in the hands. In front of the athletes, there is a 9-meter-high wall, on which the ball must be hit. The opponent must beat him either from the air or after one hit on the floor. The referee watched this competition with boredom, awarding penalty points based solely on the sound of impacts on the sounding floor. The loser was the one who conceded the ball first 60 times. In total, one match per pelota was played at the second Olympiad. The history did not even have the final score of that match. It is only known that the Spaniards beat the French. There was simply no one to compete for the bronze medal. There were practically no spectators at that game, this is not surprising - after all, all the respectable ladies and gentlemen were walking at that time at the World Exhibition. It should be noted that the pelota still appeared at the Olympics in 1924, 1968 and 1992 in the form of demonstration competitions.
Diving. This sport turned out to be extremely uninteresting, it turned out that there was nothing for the audience to watch. Just because at that time, in the absence of television, nothing could be seen. And again the action took place in 1900 in Paris. The competition was attended by 14 athletes from 4 countries, however, 11 participants represented France. The Olympians dived into the waters of the Seine, trying to stay in it as long as possible or swim as far as possible. Each second of being underwater was estimated at 1 point, and each meter covered - at 2. Poor fans had to simply look at the river for a couple of minutes, waiting for the athletes to appear and the results were announced. The competition was extremely boring. In addition, the organizers made a mistake by not taking into account natural factors. After all, the river had a rather strong current. The winner was Charles de Vandville, who grew up on the Seine. He swam 60 meters in 68 seconds. The silver medalist covered the same distance by 3 seconds faster. But the bronze medalist, Dane Luckeberg, chose a different tactic. He stayed under water the longest - 90 seconds, although he only covered 28 meters.
Distance diving. In 1904, they decided to modify scuba diving. In St. Louis, athletes dived for range. Participants jumped into the pool and continued to move by inertia without the help of arms and legs. The winner was the one who was farther than everyone else in a minute. In 1904, only 5 athletes participated in this strange sport, they all represented the United States. The winner with the result of 19 meters was William Dickey.
Single synchronized swimming. Unusual sports appeared at the Olympics not only at the beginning of the last century. Singles synchronized swimming became one of the features of the 1984 Los Angeles Games. Unfortunately, Soviet athletes missed that Olympics for political reasons. The organizers, most likely, decided to compensate for the lack of strong participants with original sports. So synchronized swimming appeared in the program, and already in it they competed in duets. Two girls with clothespins on their noses from different teams entered the pool, tumbling and dancing there to the music. The athlete who did it the best was considered the winner. The very name of this sport sounded like a strange joke. One could at least call it "water ballet". But only after 1992, solo synchronized swimming disappeared completely from the Olympics program. The reasons for this turned out to be quite simple - low entertainment, controversial subjective scoring system. In addition, the judges themselves sometimes did not hold back their laughter, watching the two-minute performances of the athletes. Yes, and officials from the IOC eventually realized that this type has little to do directly with synchronized swimming.
Shooting pigeons. Today we are used to shooters aiming at special targets. But this was not always the case. The Olympics in Paris in 1900 went down in history also by the fact that living beings were deliberately killed here. The ability to hit pigeons was assessed. That Olympics cost the lives of 300 innocent birds. Only one winner, the Belgian Leon de Lunden, shot 21 pigeons. Later, the place of birds was replaced by special targets-plates, and the sport was transformed into clay pigeon shooting.
Kabaddi. How this sport got to the 1936 Olympics in Berlin remains a mystery. It is good that the case ended with demonstration performances. The fact is that kabaddi is played mainly in Asia. This team game is only becoming popular today, only in 2004 the first world championship was held. The attacking player must reach the other half of the court by touching as many opponents as possible. At this time, as his partners, by wrestling methods, stop the rivals, not letting their participant fail. At the same time, athletes also chant mantras.
12-hour bike race. At the 1896 Athens Olympics, cycling was also not what we know it today. In this sport, 7 participants got on their bicycles at 5 am and had to ride until 5 pm in a circle 333 meters long. But even before noon, four Olympians retired. As a result, the entire participant finished in the race for survival. The Austrian Adolf Schmal won the super marathon, who managed to travel about 180 miles. The winner overtook his main rival, the Englishman Kipping, by 1 lap. Moreover, the weather was still bad that day. This, as well as the monotony of the competition itself, scared off the audience.
Tug of war. Who said that this is a primordially Russian sport? It turns out that he was present in the Olympiad program as far back as Ancient Greece in 500 BC. They also competed in tug-of-war in our time - from 1900 to 1920. Two teams of eight people each pull a thick rope until one side moves it at least 2 meters. If no one succeeds in 5 minutes, then the side that has made the maximum progress is called the winner. Even in such a peaceful sport, there was a scandal. In 1908, the Liverpool police team competed in special shoes, which, in principle, were hard to get off the ground. But the rules provide for the use of ordinary shoes. Despite the protests of the rivals from the United States, the result was valid. As a result, the entire pedestal was occupied by the owners, the British. It is noteworthy that it was in this discipline in 1900 that the first debut of a black athlete at the Olympic Games took place. It was Constantin Henriques de Zubiera.
Rope climbing. This sport was present at as many as 5 Olympics - they competed in it in 1896, 1904, 1906, 1924 and 1932. Participants were required to climb a vertical rope to a height of 14 meters, using only their hands. At the same time, not only speed was evaluated, but also style. Over time, such a subjective assessment was abandoned, taking into account only the net time. After all, some athletes did not spend too much time lifting, paying attention to the beauty of their movements. After 1896, the distance was reduced to 8 meters. And the first champion in this sport was the Greek Nikolai Andriakopoulos. Then only two participants were able to reach the top.
Duel with pistols. Fortunately, in this sport, the participants did not shoot at each other. Such competitions were held at the Olympics twice - in 1906 and 1912. Athletes aimed at dummies with targets attached to the chest. Just like modern police officers in the shooting range. Participants fired from a distance of 20 and 30 meters.
Exercises with clubs. These competitions were present in the Olympics program from 1904 to 1936. Here, pins were not at all as light as in rhythmic gymnastics. The movements, of course, are similar, only the clubs themselves are much heavier. Such exercises were part of artistic gymnastics. In 1932, the American George Roth became the champion. The newspapers wrote about him that in the midst of the Great Depression, the man was left without work and without a livelihood. Having nothing to do, he took up this strange sport. After Roth got his medal, he hitchhiked home from the stadium in Los Angeles.