13 Awesome Sports the Olympics Killed

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7. Lacrosse
> Year introduced: 1904
> Number of Olympics: 2
> Last played: 1908

Lacrosse was only played at the 1904 Games in St. Louis and the 1908 Games in London, although it was included as a demonstration sport rather than an official Olympic event in 1928, 1932 and 1948. In 1904, Canada fielded two teams since team sport athletes were registered as individuals in the Olympics until 1908. Canada’s Shamrock Lacrosse team ended up winning gold and the Mohawk Indians, also of Canada, won bronze. Meanwhile, in 1908, lacrosse featured only two teams, with Canada taking the gold and Great Britain taking the silver.

8. Motorboating
> Year introduced: 1908
> Number of Olympics: 1
> Last played: 1908

Motorboating appeared once, in the 1908 London Games. It was not included in the program again because of a rule in the current Olympic Charter banning activities that rely heavily on mechanized propulsion. The three motorboating races were composed of five laps of an eight nautical mile course. France won the gold in the open class and Great Britain won the gold in the race for boats six to eight meters in length and in the class for boats under 60 feet in length. Thomas Thornycroft, who won both of the golds for Great Britain, later returned to Olympic competition in 1952 at the age of 70 when he was selected for his country’s yachting team.

9. Pelota
> Year introduced: 1900
> Number of Olympics: 1
>Last played: 1900

According to David Goldblatt and Johnny Acton, authors of “How to Watch the Olympics,” pelota is a high-speed game involving throwing and catching a ball off a wall using a curved basket or other tool. As with croquet and cricket, pelota, also called Basque pelota, was only an official Olympic sport during the 1900 Paris Games. The only medals awarded were a gold medal won by a two-man team from Spain and a silver presented to a two-man team from France. At the Olympic Games in 1992, held in Barcelona, pelota was featured as a demonstration sport.

10. Polo
> Year introduced: 1900
> Number of Olympics: 5
> Last played: 1936

First introduced as an Olympic sport in Paris in 1900, polo is an ancient game that draws its origins from China, Iran and India. Due to a shortage of skilled players, the game featured four mixed teams of men from Mexico, England, Spain, France and the United States in its first Olympic appearance. The game was not included in the 1904 Games because of the cost of shipping the horses thousands of miles. The United States did not field a team for the same reason in 1908 in London. In its Olympic debut in 1924, Argentina won the gold against the United States. And in polo’s last appearance in the Olympics in 1936, Argentina again won the gold after an 11-0 match against England.

11. Racquets
> Year introduced: 1908
> Number of Olympics: 1
> Last played: 1908

The game of racquets, sometimes called rackets, is similar to today’s squash. However, there are a few differences, including the equipment. The game had its origins in 18th-century Britain, where inmates in debtor prisons kept themselves entertained. In the 1908 Games in London, there were only participants from Great Britain. The singles final was never contested, as one of the competitors had to withdraw due to a previous hand injury. John Jacob Astor V, part of the prominent Astor family, won a gold medal in doubles with his partner Vane Pennell, and a bronze medal in singles.

12. Roque
> Year introduced: 1904
> Number of Olympics: 1
> Last played: 1904

The only time that roque appeared as an Olympic sport was in St. Louis in 1904, replacing croquet. Roque was considered the cut-rate, American version of the game. Devised by Samuel Crosby, who named it by dropping the ‘c’ and ‘t’ from croquet, the game was played on a hard court, resembling aspects of billiards and golf, in addition to croquet. The only entrants in the competition were Americans. The sport remained popular in the United States for several more decades after its appearance in the Olympics, due in part to the large number of surfaces built as public works projects during the Depression. The game is mentioned by Stephen King in his novel, The Shining, when the main character, Jack Torrance, uses a roque mallet as a weapon.

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13. Aeronautics
> Year introduced: 1936
> Number of Olympics: 1
> Last played: 1936

Switzerland’s Hermann Schreiber probably felt pretty good about his gold-medal chances before competing in aeronautics in Berlin’s 1936 Olympic Games. After all, he was the only participant. The event involved a glider being launched from a bungee. Although considered a demonstration sport and not a medal contest, the International Olympic Committee approved the event for the 1940 Olympics scheduled in Tokyo. But since World War II halted the Games, Schreiber is still the lone aeronautics participant at the Olympic Games.

– Michael B. Sauter, Alexander E. M. Hess, Lisa Uible and Samuel Weigley

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