13 Awesome Sports the Olympics Killed

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1. Tug-of-war
> Year introduced: 1900
> Number of Olympics: 6
> Last played: 1920

The tug-of-war was first held during the 1900 Paris Olympics and was staged in six different Games as part of the wider track-and-field set of events. Winners included multinational teams: a Danish-and-Swedish team won in 1900 and a German-and-Swiss team won in 1906. Gold medal winners also included private clubs: the Milwaukee Athletic Club on behalf of the United States in 1904 and the City of London Police Club on behalf of Great Britain in 1908. During the 1908 Games in London, when British teams won gold, silver and bronze medals, controversy arose after the American manager accused the Liverpool Police Athletic Society team of wearing pronged boots following his team’s defeat.

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2. Alpinism
> Year introduced: 1932
> Number of Olympics: 2
> Last played: n/a

In 1924, at the first Winter Olympic Games in Chamonix, the first medals for Alpinism, or mountain climbing, were awarded. The event was not a traditional competition held while the Games were in session, but instead, medals were awarded to the individual or group that had achieved the most notable feat in mountaineering since the previous Games. The first medals were awarded to members of the unsuccessful 1922 British expedition to Mt. Everest. This included seven posthumous medals for those who had died. After two medals were awarded in 1936, there were no further mountaineering merits until the 1988 Calgary Games, when Reinhold Messner and Jerzy Kukuczka were honored for successfully summiting each of the 14 8,000-meter peaks.

3. Arts competition
> Year introduced: 1912
> Number of Olympics: 7
> Last played: 1948

Beginning at Stockholm in 1912, the Olympics included an arts competition. This was purportedly part of the vision that Pierre de Coubertin, who founded the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1894, had for the Olympic Games. De Coubertin would later win a gold medal himself, for literature, at the 1912 Games. In 1948, 25 nations sent artists to London to compete in architecture, painting, sculpture, literature and music; this was the last time arts would be featured in the Olympics. As the majority of artists competing were professionals, and the IOC opposed professional competitions at the time, the event was removed.

4. Cricket
> Year introduced: 1900
> Number of Olympics: 1
> Last played: 1900

In 1900, cricket was played as an Olympic sport in Paris, with only two participating teams, Great Britain and France, playing after Belgium and the Netherlands withdrew. Great Britain fielded a team consisting mostly of members of the Devon County Wanderers’ Club, many of them part-time players who had been on a tour of France. The French team was composed of many British expatriates who lived in Paris and competed in the Olympics under the name All-Paris. The game originally was intended to be included as part of the program in the first Olympics in 1896, but was removed due to a lack of participants.

5. Croquet
> Year introduced: 1900
> Number of Olympics: 1
> Last played: 1900

Croquet was featured only once — during the 1900 Olympics in Paris — as an official sport. Medals were awarded for both men’s individual one-ball and two-ball competitions, as well as a doubles contest. All six medals for individual competitors were won by France, as was the gold in doubles. The competition was also the first Olympic event in which women participated.

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6. Jeu de Paume
> Year introduced: 1908
> Number of Olympics: 1
> Last played: 1908

Jeu de Paume, meaning “game of the palm,” made its first and only appearance in 1908 in London. The aristocratic French sport is considered an early ancestor of tennis and was originally played with the palm of the hand instead of a racquet. In 1908, it was played with heavy wooden racquets and balls that had cork centers, which gave them very little bounce. American tycoon Jay Gould II won the gold medal, while competitors from Britain won both the silver and bronze.