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The Strangest Sports That Were Once in the Olympics

The official body that decides which games will be in the Olympics is called The International Olympic Committee (IOC), and it has been doing so since the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. When making this decision, their main consideration is how popular the sport is worldwide. But in hindsight, some of their decisions may seem odd, to say the least. Today, we'll be looking into 6 sports that made it into the Olympics against all odds.


Olympic Golf
In our opinion, it is hard to think of a sport less Olympic than golf. Everything about golf radiates leisure, so how can it possibly be Olympic? The International Olympic Committee (IOC) probably agrees with us on that one, as golf was featured in the Olympics only three times in 1900, in 1904, and then once again in 2016.

Skeleton Sledding


What is Skeleton Sledding? It's quite a thrilling winter sport. A competitor lies face down on a sled and shoots down an icy bob run at speeds that can reach 93 miles (150 km) per hour. We'll say it again - 93 miles per hour! The sport first appeared at the Olympics in 1928, 1948, and then it returned for good in 2002. The steering, by the way, is aptly done solely through slight movements of the shoulders and knees. Yikes!


Olympic Rugby
Here's a truly competitive sport we'd like to see more of at the Olympics. It appeared a few times at the beginning of the modern Olympics, starting in 1900. This was thanks to Baron de Coubertin, who founded the modern Olympic movement and was a fan of the sport. When he retired from his seat, rugby retired with him, and only returned to the Games in 2016! 


Olympic Tug-of-War
This game is associated with camping and maybe even the scouts' movement, so when we found out that it used to be an Olympic sport, we could hardly believe it. A game of Tug-of-War appeared in the Olympics from 1900 through 1920. Each group consisted of 5 players. 


Olympic Curling

Curling is a game played on ice, in which one team member slides a large stone on ice, and then 2 players sweep the ice in front of the stone to guide the stone as it glides to the target. Their goal is to slide the 44-pound (20 kg) stone so that it stops perfectly inside the red circle, called the tee, which is inside a larger blue circle, called the house. The athletes zealously sweep the ice in front of the stone so that it starts melting, slowing the stone as it approaches the tee.

The game is called curling because the path of the stone curves, or curls, as it approaches the tee. There is one physics-related oddity that scientists have yet to figure out about the game: it curls in the wrong direction. Here's the explanation:

Did you know that this sport dates back to the 16th century in Scotland? It was first introduced as an Olympic sport in 1924. It appeared again only in 1988 and 1992 as a demonstration sport, meaning, the games were played not to win a medal but to promote the sport itself. 

Solo Synchronized Swimming

Olympic Solo Synchronized Swimming
Synchronized Swimming somehow seems to be everyone's favorite Olympic competition to watch. We think that is because it's so pleasing to the eye, like a mandala that keeps evolving in front of your eyes. But what on earth is solo synchronized swimming? The syncing is with the music. This peculiar version, along with a duet version, appeared in 1984 through 1992, until they were replaced by the lovely team synchronized swimming in 1996. 
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