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Seven weird and wacky former Olympic sports

In addition to a team event, synchronized swimming was a solo Olympic event in the late 1980s and early 1990s. ©AFP PHOTO / CHRISTOPHE SIMON

(Relaxnews) – Since the modern Olympic Games kicked off in 1896, a few weird and wonderful sports have come and gone, from live bird shooting to solo synchronized swimming. Here is a glimpse at a few of the wackiest.

1. Tug of War – Dates played: from 1900 to 1920
This feat of strength worked like the classic playground game: two teams pulled a rope in opposite directions until the midpoint of the rope passed into the winning team’s territory.

2. Jeu de paume – Date played: 1908
The indoor precursor of tennis, jeu de paume was only included as a medal event at the 1908 Olympic Games in London, and only two countries competed, Great Britain and the US, with the latter taking home the gold.

3. Live pigeon shooting – Date played: 1900
When Paris hosted the 1900 Olympic Games, live pigeon shooting was a key event, with Belgium’s Leon de Lunden earning gold with 21 hits.

4. Long jump for horses – Date played: 1900
In this event, horses were the athletes with 17 competitors jumping for gold medal glory. Belgium’s Constant van Langendonck on the horse Extra-Dry earned the top prize with a distance of 6.1 m.

5. Rope climb – Dates played: 1896, 1904, 1906, 1924, 1932
Perhaps with the CrossFit fury, good old-fashioned rope climbing may once again appear at a future Olympics. Prior to being discontinued, the rope climb marked the final event of the gymnastics competition. While typically being judged on time to reach the top, in 1896, athletes were also judged on style.

6. Solo synchronized swimming – Dates played: 1984, 1988, 1992
Before catching on to the oxymoronic nature of this sport, individual athletes performed choreographed routines to music in the water, while synchronizing their moves to the music.

7. Swimming obstacle race – Date played: 1900
For the Paris Olympics, competitors had to climb over a pole, crawl over a row of boats, then swim under another row of boats against the current of the Seine.

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