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Blog: Odd sports that are no longer Olympic events

Thursday - 8/2/2012, 7:05am  ET

croquet (AP)
Croquet is no longer an Olympic sport. (AP)

David Burd, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - If you think that beach volleyball and the ribbon twirling events are a bit odd, wait until you read the list of Olympic events that have been dropped in years past.

Let's start with the fun ones.

Dueling pistols: Just think, if Aaron Burr, the vice president of the U.S. at the time, and then Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton had waited to have their duel in 1905, Aaron Burr would have won the gold. Unfortunately, with duels there wouldn't be a silver and bronze winner.

I'm sure I've got this event all wrong. It was probably just firing the dueling pistols at non-human targets. (Actually, they were mannequins dressed in frock coats).

Back in 1896, members of the Greek Navy were the only ones allowed to compete in the 100-meter freestyle. Why, you ask? I don't have a clue, but I'll bet they had a sailor named Micheal Phelp O'Doppolas on the team.

Dropping croquet as an Olympic sport just proves that there is a higher force in the universe. Thank you (whoever you are).

I would like to see the Olympic committee reinstate "underwater swimming" -- if for nothing else than to see NBC's Bob Costas do the play-by-play underwater, with a mask on.

Ask yourself this question: How exciting could a 1908 motor boat race be? I rest my case for dropping.

Live pigeon shooting was dropped in the early 1900s. Groundskeepers hated that event.

In the "our fat guys are better than your fat guys" event, the tug-of-war match was thankfully yanked from the Olympics.

Other events on the extinct list:

  • Plunge for distance
  • Standing long jump
  • Cricket
  • Rugby
  • Golf
  • Lacrosse

A reminder, though. While these events have been dropped in the past, it doesn't mean they can't or won't be back. Rugby comes and goes, and so does golf.

But the biggest events that have a lot of Americans royally upset for being dropped are baseball and softball.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)