The age-old chronicle of the Olympic Games remembers interesting and unconventional experiments. Just 20 years ago, viewers could see TV sports such as ballet on ice or high-speed competitions, in which athletes sometimes accelerated more than 200 kilometers per hour.
Let’s learn more about non-standard sports at the Olympics
“The old version of biathlon” or military patrol has long been entrenched in the program of the Olympic Games, it is popularly called the “father” of modern biathlon. Military patrol competitions were held at the very first official Winter Olympics, in 1924 in Chamonix, France. At the next few Olympic Games, held in 1928, 1936, and 1948, this type of biathlon was only on the list of demonstration events.
The military patrol combined such sports as ski racing and shotgun speed shooting, but was a cooperative sport – each team had four people.
Those who participated wore military gear and with bags weighing more than 20 kilograms walked 20 and sometimes 25 kilometers. It was required to shoot at the targets at the end of the marathon.
After a while, the biathlon replaced the military patrol. It first appeared in Squaw Valley, California in 1960 and has been unchanged in the Olympics since then. But thank God, today’s biathletes do not need to carry bags weighing 20-25 pounds!
By the way, already in those distant days, sports fans were actively betting. This discipline can be compared to horse racing in India. The Indian race tips claim that horse racing in the country appeared almost at the same time and was able to bring a lot of profit to bettors.
This sport is very unusual for today. People who participated in the skijoring competitions risked their health because during the competition skiers moved along the track tied to the horses. Horses were running and pulling the participants, and of course, it all happened at high speed.
This unusual sport appeared in the Olympics program back in 1928 in the beautiful Swiss town of St. Moritz and was listed as an exhibition. At that time, all the prizes were taken by the creators of the Olympics – the Swiss.
Skijoring competitions are relevant today. Sometimes, instead of skis professionals tie snowboards. Also, in addition to skijoring on horses, some countries hold skijoring on motorcycles. Despite the variety, the chances of a return to the Olympics program are almost non-existent.
A cross between hockey and soccer, or the famous sport called “bendy” or “Russian hockey,” was on the list of exhibition events at the 1952 Oslo Games in the Norwegian capital. Incredibly known in our country and Western countries, this sport, as many fans believe, is considered a relative of ordinary hockey.
The main similarity with our ice hockey is based on the fact that the participants move on the ice and wear a similar uniform to each other, but the playing stick in the game of “bendy” is different in that it is slightly curved at the end. In bendy, participants in goal do not use sticks but are allowed to catch or hit pucks with their gloved hands. This is the main difference between bendy from modern hockey: the players hammer pucks into the goal, which do not look like standard pucks and look more like little smaller balls for soccer. One team takes up to eleven players, the match is divided into two parts, each of which lasts 45 minutes (this element is borrowed from soccer).
Standard Football and “Bandy” are similar to each other by the laws of offside and the fact that the game behind the goal area is prohibited.
At the Olympic Games in Norway Sweden won first place, and Norway itself won second place. “Bendy”, unfortunately, could not stay long in the program of the winter games, but is still one of the main sports in the wintertime.
Sled dog racing
At the 1932 Olympic Games in Utah, Salt Lake City, as a new and unconventional sport, dog sled dog racing was added to the list of all competitions, all because a similar mode of transportation began its way in North America.
Up to 12 athletes took part in such races, five of which belonged to Canada and the rest to the United States. Seven dogs were harnessed to the sled of each of the athletes. Such a team had to pass two sections, each of which is 40 kilometers.
Ski Ballet was introduced as a new and unusual sport and was included in the list of several Olympic Winter Games: the first was held in 1988 in Calgary, Canada, and the second in 1992 in France, the city of Albertville. At the time, it was considered a major component of freestyle. Participants in the sport performed all kinds of gymnastic tricks on skis while moving to the music. The list of competitions included double starts with simultaneous elements and tricks!
What was happening on the screens during these stunts viewers often compared with figure skating? But in that sport instead of skates the participants used skis and sticks. And instead of ice, there was a flat snow slope about 250-260 meters long. In the performance of the athletes, the judges gave their marks not only for the complexity of the tricks but also for grace.
This kind of competition has another name – “speed skiing”, it is the descent on skis at high speed from a snowy slope. This kind of design was a demonstration at the Olympic Games, held in 1992 France, Albertville.
Athletes participating in such competitions are going down prepared in advance, and their main task is to accelerate to a maximum speed for a certain distance from the start. Speed Skating is the fastest sport on earth, which does not involve more than one motor or engine. And it is understandable because riders speed over 210 kilometers per hour! A world record set in speed skating was set by Ivan Origone, an athlete from Italy. He managed to reach 255 km/h!
Despite this, speedskating did not remain on the list of Olympic events. Most likely, this decision is connected with the great tragedy that happened in Albertville. Swiss racer Nicolas Bochata was training and went down the slope at speed and collided with one of the barriers. Unfortunately, he could not be saved.
Freediving by definition is a very young sport. The sport of freediving, which involved holding the air in-depth, first appeared at the Olympic Games back in 1900 in Paris. The discipline was won by the famous Frenchman Charles de Vandville. He was able to overcome a distance of almost sixty meters in just over a minute. It was the first and final presentation of this sport at the Summer Games, in the following year, the competition was eliminated because of the great danger to athletes. Nowadays, slowly, but quite progressively, the sport is returning to the Olympic sports. Every year people are making freediving safer and safer.
In early 1908, at the Winter Olympics in London, athletes presented a non-standard and interesting sport: a duel on pistols with wax bullets.
To make this event safer the participants used dueling pistols, instead of the usual metal bullets wax, and protective masks, which completely cover the face. Despite this, this discipline could not take root in the Olympics. Since the above precautions were not enough to protect athletes, dueling pistols had to be removed from the program.
The name of this discipline came from the old French word voltage – “to fly, to rise”. This equestrian discipline includes acrobatic tricks on a horse.
A separate sport – vaulting was formed in Europe in the 1900s, and to this day is a very well-known and breathtaking discipline.
As an element of gymnastic tricks, vaulting was included in the Olympics in 20 the 20th century, although this discipline was not able to remain Olympic.
The old unconventional, surprising, and sometimes very dangerous sports are being replaced by their analogs, which have been improved over the years. Almost every year more and more new disciplines are added to the Olympic program, so we cannot exclude that very soon we might be surprised by a new unusual sport.