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Forgotten Olympic Sports

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Fordham University

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Forgotten Olympic Sports

Sporting events that shot their shot but were rejected by the Olympic Committee

Jennifer Clark

2.19.18

Shaun White won another gold medal. Awesome. Phenom Mikaela Shiffrin took the gold in giant slalom. Great. Red Gerard took home first place after oversleeping. Woo fucking hoo.

Who can go down the hill the fastest? Who can jump the highest? Who can dance the best on ice without falling on their ass? I’m sick of it. It’s the same old story every year, and if you ask me, the Olympics has lost some of its pizazz. If you look deep into the Olympics’ history of sportsmanship, you’ll see that they’ve been holding out on us. I’d like to see these “athletes” take home the gold in some of the Olympics’ more gritty demonstration sports of the past.

What’s a demonstration sport? Read a goddamn book kid. A demonstration sport is one played at the Olympics as promotion in the hopes that it gains enough popularity to join the illustrious ranks of “official” Olympic Sports. Sadly, all of the sports you’re about to see didn’t make the cut because they were too “ridiculous” or “deadly”. Sounds like a lot of fear to me.

Ballooning

Remember when you were young and on a beautiful summer’s day you’d gather up all the neighborhood kids, head outside, and race some hydrogen balloons? Of course you remember, who could forget one of America’s favorite pastimes. Ballooning was tentatively introduced during the 1900 Olympic games. Participants included 61 men and 3 bad-ass women. The Olympics really missed a golden opportunity in passing up this one. I would give anything to live in a world where casual balloonery was the norm. Tell me that you wouldn’t take time out of your day to watch over sixty people race each other through the sky in these ludicrous things. Wouldn’t you love to seen children's’ rec ballooning leagues popping up all over? Pick up balloon racing after work? Better yet, the Fast and Furious franchise replacing all of its cars with sporting balloons? I’m all in.


Danger: 5/10
Ridiculousness: 10/10
Odds You Could Beat its Athlete In a Fight: 10/10
Who’d Compete in This Event: People who make drone videos

Glima

Nothing weird going on with this sport. Just two dudes. Nearly naked. Grabbing each other by game sanctioned leather girdles worn around the waist. Absolutely nothing to see here.

(Old Shaun White vs. New Shaun White)

I’m mostly upset that the world missed its chance to see Nike sponsored leather girdles.

Glima is a form of ancient Viking wrestling that was demonstrated at the 1912 Olympic Games. Described by an onlooker as a “lithe, dance-like wrestling”, this is a game of strength and poise. According to Norse mythology, Glima is presided over by its patron god Thor. The event clearly never made it past demonstration, but fret not. The ancient martial art is still practiced and protected by this man.


(Tyr Neilsen - President of Norwegian Glima Association, Great great great grandson of Thor, King of Sweet Flow, and Mayor of Kicking your Dad’s Ass)

Glima is safe in those strong, brawny hands.

Danger: 4/10
Ridiculousness: 6/10
Odds You Could Beat its Athlete In a Fight: 1/10
Who’d Compete in This Event: That guy at the gym who sexually grunts while pumping iron

Skijoring

The sport of Skijoring was invented in 1928 during a coke fueled conversation between a cowboy and a cross country skier about how to incorporate the life and death stakes of the ancient Colosseum into the Olympic games. Or it may have originated as a way of winter travel for Nordic military dispatches; the jury is still out on that one. Skijoring is essentially waterskiing by way of horse, and was introduced as a demonstration sport in the 1928 Winter Olympics. The Swiss swept the competition as Skijoring’s one and only Olympic appearance.



(As if it weren’t enough for the riders to race behind unmanned horses, the race was also held on a goddamn frozen lake.)

Danger: 9/10
Ridiculousness: 8/10
Odds You Could Beat its Athlete In a Fight: If they’re being zoomed around by a horse? 2/10. No horse? 5/10.
Who’d Compete in This Event: People who hover board to class

Kite Flying

Nothing screams athleticism, sportsmanship, and finesse quite like kite flying. It made its debut (and subsequent demise) at the 1900 Summer Olympic Games held in Paris, and was proposed by the French (obviously). The competition was based on altitude as well as other style factors. The weirdest and most unsurprising aspect of this demonstration sport? They allowed children to compete.




(I like any sport you can do in a three piece suit)

Danger: 1/10
Ridiculousness: 12/10
Odds You Could Beat its Athlete In a Fight: 135/10
Who’d Compete in This Event: Spike Ball Boys

Fire Fighting

I don’t know what the fuck was up with the 1900 Olympics, but they really mailed it in with the demonstration sports. Another proposed event at these games was fire fighting. Competitors were a mix of professionals and amateurs, because it takes absolutely zero experience to take on an inferno head on.


Danger: 25/10
Ridiculousness: 10/10
Odds You Could Beat its Athlete In a Fight: 2/10
Who’d Compete in This Event: FUEMS

Pentathlon

This one’s a doozy so you’re going to have to bear with me for a moment. The creators of this event were clearly seeking to punish winter athletes in the most sadistic way possible. The pentathlon’s creators took a long, hard look at the Summer Olympics’ modern pentathlon (swimming, pistol shooting, horseback riding, fencing, and running), and thought to themselves, “We can do that...on ice.” These maniacs had athletes competing in a wintry Iron Man hellscape that consisted of cross country skiing, shooting, downhill skiing, fencing, and horseback riding. My guess is that the winner was decided by whoever was left alive by the end.



Danger: 8/10
Ridiculousness: 5/10
Odds You Could Beat its Athlete In a Fight: 3/10 (good luck beating anyone who can endure this)
Who’d Compete in This Event: ROTC kids

When exactly did our creative zest for sports die? When did we stop sacrificing life and limb to win a hunk of metal? I suppose multinational corporations need their athletes to be alive to squeeze as much sponsorship out of them as possible. Either way, I hope you enjoyed this glimpse of just how glorious our Olympic Games almost were.