10. Swimming Obstacle Race
9. Distance Plunging
A silly event that almost certainly attracted equally silly people. This was contested only once, in 1904. Competitors would dive into the pool and remain motionless for 60 seconds or until their head bobbed out of the water, after which their distance was measured. The winner was American, William Dickey, who must be very proud. It is interesting to note that all entrants were Americans. No photos are available of this event so I have used a of ladies diving in to a pool.
8. Jeu de Paume
That’s ‘game of palm’ to us non-Francophones. This game was a precursor to real tennis, and was essentially tennis with your hands or a small paddle in lieu of rackets. Still played rarely today, thisstarted as an exhibition sport in 1900, became part of the Olympic program in 1908, and was brought back as an exhibition in 1924.
An American variation on the French sport of croquet, this was played during the 1904 St. Louis Olympics. Understandably, as the sport was virtually unknown outside of the US, all of the competitors were American. The sport was dropped after this Games and is widely believed to have been included for the sole purpose of boosting the USA’s medal count.
The tug of war actually has a real shot at coming back into the modern Olympic program, considering that it was contested in the Ancient Olympics. It was an Olympic sport during the 1900, 1904, 1908, 1912 and 1920 Games, during which time the British won the most medals, including the 1908 Games where themedal was won by the London police force.