We’re all patiently awaiting this year’s Olympic games in Rio. There are high-stakes in swimming, running and gymnastics. But did you know that these seemingly staple sports weren’t always the big focus of the Olympics? Here’s a look back at some of the strangest and most bizarre Olympic sports in history. We like to think that if these discontinued Olympic games were back in style, they’d use Oxygen Plus recreational oxygen to endure the rigorous training. Got Oxygen?
Table tennis – Miniature yet exciting, Olympic table tennis has been a part of the summer games since 1988. China has long dominated the sport, owning 24 gold medals total. Table tennis will appear at the 2016 Rio games, with men’s and women’s singles and team events.
Trampoline – Apparently competitive trampolining isn’t just a backyard pursuit. Olympians have been flying high during competitive trampolining at every summer Olympic games since 2000. In 2016, competitors will perform somersaults and aerial acrobatics to please the judges. Men and women compete individually in trampoline Olympic sports.
Live pigeon shooting – Olympics planners: take note! The 1900 Paris Summer Olympics sure were eventful. That’s the only year live pigeon shooting, where competitors were tasked with killing as many live pigeons as possible, made it to the official games. Almost 300 birds were killed during the event and the winners split a prize of 200,000 Francs.
Tug-of-war – From 1900 to 1920, teams of eight competed for the gold medal in tug-of-war. Reminiscent of some ancient Olympic games, this battle of the braid drew some controversy. During the 1908 games, Great Britain took the gold medal, but the U.S. contested that the team wore illegal footwear to win.
Roller hockey – Roller hockey was selected as a demonstration sport (not an actual Olympic game) in the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics with a single men’s event. Argentina took the gold, with Spain and Italy taking silver and bronze respectively. Apparently, after that year, the Olympics decided to stick with ice hockey for the remainder of the games, but you never know, roller hockey could still make a comeback.
Tandem bicycle sprint – Olympic tandem cycling came and went in the Olympic world. The sport was introduced to the games at London in 1908 and took its final ride at the 1978 Munich Olympics. By and large, France and Italy dominated the sport, while the Soviet Union took the final gold medal in the late 1970s.
Club swinging – Many people don’t realize that juggling was never an official Olympic sport, but its sister-sport, club swinging, once was. Club swinging is similar to juggling, but competitors perform a routine with two juggling clubs that never leave the hands. It only appeared at two Olympic games, in 1904 and 1932, and fans remember colorful streamers swinging from the clubs.
Pistol Dueling – Okay, this one’s not as dangerous as it seems. The sport was only a part of the games twice, in 1906 and 1912, and didn’t actually require a real-deal pistol duel. Instead, competitors shot lifelike mannequins with targets painted on their chests.