Lifestyle & Belief

Don't you forget about me: Olympic rejects


Solo synchronized swimming? Really?


Al Bello

As we enjoy the Olympic games, GlobalPost takes a look back at our favorite Olympic rejects — you know, sports that were cut from the roster, like that kid in junior high who showed up for the baseball tryout wearing jeans. 

Landing on this list may not be a gold medal, but it is honor enough for all the pigeon shooters out there.

Here is our rogue’s gallery of snubbed Olympic sports.

Live Pigeon Shooting

Olympic reject pigeon

(Luis Acosta/AFP/Getty Images)

For shame! Pigeon massacre would be a better name for this event, which was held only once, during the 1900 summer Olympic games. The object of the “sport” was to kill as many birds as possible. It has the ignominious honor of being the only sport in Olympic history in which animals were deliberately hurt. To be more precise, 300 pigeons were killed. It was a mess.


Tug of War

Olympic reject tug of war

(Sam Yeh/AFP/Getty Images)

No explanation is necessary for this schoolyard classic. Tug of War was held every Summer Olympics between 1900 and 1920. Due to its strong cultural connection to playground tomfoolery, some may wonder why such a childish contest was held at the Olympics in the first place. But unlike many of the newfangled events of today, tug of war has an Olympic legacy: It was part of the very first Olympics, held in Athens in the year 500 BC. So the real question is, who ever decided to cut something so awesome?


Water Moter Sports

Olympic reject motor boat

(David Hallett/Getty Images)

Also called “power boating,” this event, like many on this list, was held just once, in 1908. The concept was pretty simple: drive a motorboat around in a predetermined number of circles. The fastest wins. Although it sounds exciting, these motorboats couldn’t muster much horsepower — the average speed was about 19 mph. Realizing the event was as painfully dull, not to mention that it required absolutely no athletic skills whatsoever, organizers scrapped it from the Olympic agenda. 


Underwater Swimming

Olympic reject underwater swimming

(Ken Levine/Getty Images)

This event, which was only held once, during the 1900 Olympic games, involved diving underwater and swimming without coming up for air. The competitor was awarded for both distance and time spent underwater. As one could imagine, there was little interest in watching this sport, since none of it could be seen. And so it, too, was cut. 


Dueling Pistols

Olympic reject dueling pistols

(Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Despite what one may think, this event did not require competitors to kill each other. It’s funnier than that. Instead, the competitor would shoot at dressed mannequins. Repeat: they dressed mannequins and shot bullets at them. Dueling pistols was retired after only one official Olympic games, in 1912. 


Solo Synchronized Swimming

Olympic reject solo synchronized swimming

(Al Bello/Getty Images)

Just for a moment, look past the fact that this sport was really boring, and take the time to appreciate its name: solo synchronized swimming. Let’s give the Olympic organizers the benefit of the doubt and say they realized someone couldn’t synchronize anything alone. But they couldn’t come up with a name that wasn’t an oxymoron? The real shocker in this case is that it took three Olympic games — 1984 to 1992 — to finally chuck this cockamamie event into the reject pile.