Monday, August 13, 2012

Olympics of Yesteryear

Well the Olympics have come and gone, but I'm still not over my crush on the plethora of Olympic related data out there.  Indulge me one last time, as I repost the Economist's list of discontinued Olympic events.

Who knew tug of war was in there until 1920?  They should bring that back.


  1. Running deer shooting? With real animals, or with silhouettes?

    Where do I sign up?

  2. Does "freestyle javalin" mean you can just hurl it at anyone? That would be an interesting event.

  3. The events shooting live animals would never cut it today, what with animal rights activists and all. Team dueling pistols? That conjures up images of Aaron Burr and wouldn't anger the animal rights activists. I can't really understand the loss of cross-country when it remains a staple of high school sports. And, like the science man, the mind boggles at the possibilities of freestyle javelin!

  4. I'm trying to imagine team dueling pistols. Was it one-on-one elimination or multiple team melee?

    You might be able to tweak the sports some: Around the track use moving silhouettes for the running deer shooting, but the score would be a combination of the shooting score and the time the shooter took running the course from which he shot the targets. Too long to shoot or too heavy a target rifle and you lose on time, too fast and you lose on points: balance.

    I gather that beach volleyball is part of an effort to return to the original Olympic uniform.

  5. ...after a little research, it looks like "running deer" used silhouettes that did a 'run away' motion.

    Still, sounds like an interesting challenge. It's like shooting clays, in that the target is moving. But the rifleman are shooting single pellets, not bursts of shot...and the scoring is done by the closeness of the ring to the bulls-eye on the moving target.

    I've done a little marksmanship on a range with stationary targets. The running-deer version sounds more challenging. But also more fun.

  6. Who knew? I knew. I was fascinated by the Olympics, especially T & F, as a child. Did you know that the Finnish Grip is used in the javelin, or that CK Yang nearly defeated the great Rafer Johnson in the decathlon in 1960? Good times, poring over those reference books on the 5th-grade shelf.

    The biathlon in the Winter Olympics is already similar to James's modification. Combo events don't seem to catch on with the fans, but holding a rifle steady when you are freezing and dog-tired has got to be difficult.

    As to the standing long-jump, that hung around in American culture at least through the 1960's, as it was one of the skills we had to do in phys ed for the President's Council on Youth Fitness standards started by Kennedy so that the Russians wouldn't take our lunches. I was pretty good at it, despite being short.