Episode 18: Everything About Discontinued Olympic Events

Episode 18: Everything About Discontinued Olympic Events

How do events get into the Olympics to begin with?


  • Step 1: IOC recognition of an activity as a sport.
    • The IOC requires that the activity have administration by an international nongovernmental organization that oversees at least one sport.
  • Step 2: Move to International Sports Federation Recognition
    • Olympic Movement Anti-Doping Code, including conducting effective out-of-competition tests on the sport’s competitors while maintaining rules set forth by the Olympic Charter.
  • Step 3: filing a petition establishing its criteria of eligibility to the IOC.
    • The IOC may then admit an activity into the Olympic program in one of three different ways:
    • as a sport;
    • as a discipline, which is a branch of a sport;
    • or as an event, which is a competition within a discipline.
  • The Olympic Charter indicates that in order to be accepted,
    • a sport must be widely practiced by men in at least 75 countries and on four continents and by
    • women in no fewer than 40 countries and on three continents.
    • The sport must also increase the ‘‘value and appeal’’ of the Olympic Games and retain and reflect its modern traditions.
    • There are numerous other rules, including bans on purely ‘‘mind sports’’ and sports dependent on mechanical propulsion. These rules have kept chess, automobile racing, and other recognized sports out of the Olympic Games.
  • In recent years the IOC has worked to manage the scope of the Olympics by
    • permitting new sports only in conjunction with the simultaneous discontinuation of others.
    • Sports that have already been part of the Games are periodically reviewed to determine whether they should be retained.
    • The Olympic Programme Commission notes that problems have arisen when trying to find venues to accommodate some sports’ specific needs, such as baseball and softball, which were discontinued from Olympic programming after the 2008 Beijing Games.
    • When choosing sports to include in the program, the IOC must take into consideration media and public interest, since these are a key drive behind the Olympic Games, but must simultaneously manage costs.

Ski Ballet

Ski ballet involved a choreographed routine of flips, rolls, leg crossings, jumps, and spins performed on a smooth slope. After the mid-1970s the routine was performed to music for 90 seconds.

Short time in the 1980’s Pair Ski Ballet.




Was a Demonstration Sport: Not an official Olympic sport

The origins of skijoring can be traced to 1850s Scandinavia, when residents drawn to the various gold rushes in the western United States returned home and introduced Native American dog sledding traditions they had witnessed to local conditions.

One dog more practical to raise than a team, if pulling a sled then having the driver ski behind was easier on the animal.

Equestrian Skijoring: Pulled like water skiing behind horse

Saint Moritz Switzerland the horse is riderless so skier is also guiding the horse.

Either way horse has to be specially trained to pull a skier.

Said to have originated as a method of winter travel.

Reindeer Skijoring Debut in Sotckholm Nordic Games 1901.

Dog Skijoring: Skier provides power by skiing and using poles.

Dogs provide boost.

No reigns or signaling devices, dogs must be motivated to run and willing to obey skier.

Races are often held in conjunction with sled dog racing.

Top End Sports: An Excellent Resource for Olympic History


Tug of War:

Tug of war was contested as a team event in the Summer Olympics at every Olympiad from 1900 to 1920. Originally the competition was entered by groups called clubs. A country could enter more than one club in the competition, making it possible for one country to earn multiple medals. This happened in 1904, when the United States won all three medals, and in 1908 when the podium was occupied by three British teams

Notable incidents

Date Location Rope snapped # deaths # severely Injured # overall injured # total participants Death cause / injury details Rope details Other information
13 June 1978[24] Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Yes 0 6 200 ~2,300 6 fingers and thumbs amputated 2000 foot rope rated for 13,000 lbs Middle school Guinness Book of Records attempt
4 June 1995[25] Westernohe, Germany Yes 2 5 29 650 Crushed and hit ground hard “Thumb-thick” nylon Scouts attempt Guinness Book of Records entry
25 October 1997[26][27][28][29] Taipei, Taiwan Yes 0 2 42 1500 Arms severed below shoulder 5-centimetre (2.0 in) nylon, max. strength 26,000 kilograms (57,000 lb) Official event, with foreign dignitaries
4 February 2013[30] El Monte California Yes 0 2 2 ~40[31] 9 fingers amputated[31] Unknown Lunchtime high school activity


Solo Synchronized Swimming


organizers of the sport say the swimmer is actually in sync with the music.



Pentathlon of Muses: Discontinued

Image: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/when-the-olympics-gave-out-medals-for-art-6878965/

Jean Jacoby’s Corner, left and Rugby. 1928 Olympic Competition in Amsterdam, Jacoby won a gold medal for Rugby. (Collection: Olympic Museum Laussane)

  • From 1912 to 1952 poets, painters competed for bronze, silver. And gold. In:
    • Architecture, Musical Composition, Sculpture, Painting and Literature
  • According to the Huffington Post, the Pentathlon of the Muses was Brian child of Baron Pierre de Coulbertin he thought adding the arts to the sporty Olympics would add an intellectual compass to the rapidly industrializing world
  • works inspired by sport were allowed to receive medals.
  • 151 medals to original works were awarded
    • Arts judged by a panel-controversy even from the start.
      • Why art
        • Why only sports themes
  • According to Smithsonian.com 1912 American Marksman, Walter W. Winans won in silver for sharpshooting shooting and gold for a bronze sculpture of a 20 inch horse pulling a small chariot. That was the first ever Olympic Gold medal for sculpture.

image: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/when-the-olympics-gave-out-medals-for-art-6878965/

Waler Winan’s An American Trotter. (Collection: Idrottsmuseet i Malmo)

  • During the 1932 games in Los Angeles, nearly 400,000 people visited the LA Museum of History, Science and Art to see the works entered.
  • After WWII, the Pentathlon had troubles. Ended when the argument about amateurs came up. At that time, only an amateur was allowed to compete, it was decided that artist were professionals. They rely on their art to make money and could use the medals won to gain fame.
  • Judges began to refuse to arbitrate—they claimed the entries weren’t very good
  • Strange twist, there isn’t much info about The Pentathlon of the Muses. The Olympic web site doesn’t even list the medal winners for the arts. They have been stricken from the official record and do not count toward countries current medal counts.

Equestrian Vaulting: Discontinued

  • Part of the 1920 games in Antwerp
  • Belgium, France and Sweden were the only competitors
  • Acrobatic skill on the backs of horses. Sport has been around for at least 2,00o years
  • Horse is moving usually at a walk or a trot lounged by another person while the vaulter competes
  • In the 1920 Olympics, It was only men competing.
    • Mostly jumping over the horse and somersaulting over the horse
  • Modern Vaulting developed in post war Germany to introduce children to equestrian sports
  • Now a days it’s choreographed with music and gaining in popularity, even in the US.
    • The 2010 equestrian games had hundreds of horse vaulters from 50 countries. Currently trying to gain recognition by the IOC

Club Swinging AKA Indian Club: Discontinued


  • Appeared twice as a sport 1904 St. Louis (3 competitors all from the US) and called Indian Clubs in 1932 Los Angeles Four compete 3 USA one from Mexico
  • Called Indian Clubs or Persian Meels, Come from Persia, Egypt and the Middle East used as weapons
  • British colonist came across the pins in India. So of course, they called them Indian Clubs. 19th century exercise equipment used for strength and agility training.
    • Can be of varying weight
    • Super popular in the Victorian era used by military and fancy ladies…gyms were built specifically for exercise groups.
  • Two clubs, look like juggling pins. Swung around the body in a set routine.
  • Precursor to rhythmic gymnastics/baton
  • They were the inspiration for juggling pins
  • During the Olympics, the clubs weighed a pound and a half
  • Gaining popularity as a workout today
  • the winner of the 1932 event, George Roth is supposed to have received his medal in front of 60,000 people then walked out of the stadium and hitch hiked home

Pentathlon of Muses: Discontinued

Smithsonian on Olympics giving medals for art


Croquet: Discontinued

  • 1900 Summer Olympics Paris
  • seven men and three women competed
  • Doubles and singles was played
  • All French and one Belgian played.
  • Supposedly only one person came to watch, An Englishman.

Some of the sports we are talking about were DEMONSTRATION SPORTS. Normally used to promote a local sport from the host country. Now they are more likely to be used to to gauge interest in a new sport. Not introduced officially until 1912.

Canon Shooting: Demonstration 1900 games in Paris

Possible competition for distance and accuracy. 17 events all for men. Only french competitors.

200-meter Swimming Obstacle Race 1900 Paris

  • Climb a pole
  • swim under a row of boats
  • climb over another row of boats

Dueling Pistol 1906

NY Times Blog Dueling Pistols

  • contestants shot at a dummy dressed in a frock coat.