5 Weird Discontinued Olympic Sports

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If you think the modern Olympics have always featured the same, traditional events then you’re wrong. Here are five of the most unusual events to have ever graced the games.

Swimming Obstacle Race (Paris, 1900)

If you fancy competing in a spot of obstacle swimming you’re going to have to travel back in time to Paris 1900, as this is the only time the event was included. 12 competitors raced the 200 metre course that included three obstacles. The first was a pole which the swimmers had to climb over. They then had to clamber over a row of boats, before swimming under another line of vessels towards the end of the course. The gold medal was taken by Australia’s Frederick Lane, so perhaps they should have resurrected the event for the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

Long Jump for Horses (Paris, 1900)

This one doesn’t really need an explanation does it? The winner was simply the horse that jumped the furthest, which incidentally wasn’t very far at all. The winning horse managed to leap just over 20 feet, which is more than 2.5 metres shorter than the current human world record.

Live Pigeon Shooting (Paris 1900)

How mental do the 1900 games sound? In an astonishing display of animal cruelty 300 birds were sacrificed as Leon de Lunden from Belgium fired his way to the gold medal (killing 21 pigeons by himself). The 1900 games in Paris have the dubious honour of hosting the only event in the history of the Olympic Games where animals were harmed with deliberate intent.

Solo Synchronised Swimming (1984-92)

This one’s a bit of an oxymoron isn’t it? I mean if it’s a solo event then who exactly do you synchronize your movements with?

Apparently the answer is that the swimmers performed a routine that was synchronized to music rather than with any other swimmers. In any case the event only survived for three Olympic Games (1984-92), probably because it just looked like someone splashing about in the water.

Club Swinging (St Louis, 1904)

This one sounds more like a night on the town for experimental couples. Don’t get too excited though as it was actually a rhythmic gymnastic style event that saw competitors swing a club covered with ribbons around their head. It made its only appearance at the St Louis games of 1904, and the United States took a clean sweep of the medals. This might explain why a similar event called “Indian clubs” was staged at the 1932 games in Los Angeles. Those Americans love a bit of club swinging.

Bonus: Pistol Dueling (Athens, 1906)

The reason this one’s only a bonus is that the 1906 ‘Inter-calculated’ games in Athens aren’t counted as an official Olympics. It’s a shame, because pistol duelling sounds amazingly dangerous and cool. However, it wasn’t actually dangerous at all as the competitors fired at dummies (wearing coats and hats) instead of each other, which I find a little disappointing to be honest.

When he’s not watching and writing about sport, Robert Jones looks for unusual gifts for the online retailer Find Me A Gift.

Top 5 Travel Destinations for Extreme Sports Enthusiasts

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A scuba diver looking at a giant clam on the G...

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Top 5 Travel Destinations for Extreme Sports Enthusiasts

Whether you are a scuba-diver, sky-diver, mountain climber, bungee-jumper or white water rafter, one thing is certain: these are extreme sports that only a select few are comfortable participating in.  Chances are, you love more than one of these sports and do them every chance you get. Here are some top travel destinations for the extreme sports enthusiast.

1)      Hawaii: This is one of the most beautiful places on earth, with clear-blue beaches and an abundance of marine life. You will find many opportunities such as scuba-diving, snorkelling, sky-diving and bungee-jumping. Whether you want to jump out of a plane to see the beautiful islands and scenery, or dive down 200 feet to see ship wrecks and corals, this spot is heaven on earth.

2)      Ottawa/Quebec: Ottawa provides one of the best white-water rafting experiences in North America; if you’re into sky-diving you can go to the Ottawa/Gatineau airport in Quebec. You will see breathtaking scenery, as well as the St. Lawrence River. This is definitely an extreme sportsman’s dream come true.

3)      Australia and the Great Barrier Reef: This famous reef is a picturesque sight of beauty. Snorkel or scuba dive to see the amazing marine life: sting rays, giant sea turtles, sharks and a colourful array of fish await you here. Don’t forget your underwater camera.

4)      Niagara Falls: Since you can’t go over the Falls in a barrel (it’s illegal), the sports enthusiast will have to settle for white-water rafting, or skydiving over this natural wonder. An amazing, thrilling adventure you won’t soon forget.

5)      Mount Kilimanjaro: Located in Tanzania, this famous sight is the mountain climber’s dream, and is conquered by thousands of people each year. Go on your own or with a tour guide; this will give you long lasting memories you won’t ever forget.

There are, of course, hundreds of other places throughout the world to practice your skills and see breathtaking views and sights. Keep in mind that some of the most popular are also some of the most crowded. You will have to decide where to go based on your own preference and budget. Create a top 10 list, and make some goals to visit at least three or four of them in the next five years. Don’t put anything off; you may regret it later. Visit your local travel agent, or do some research online for guided tours or packages. A word of caution about buying online: make sure you are purchasing from a reputable company, and that any tickets you purchase are in fact valid.

You should also be sure you have a life insurance policy in place before you venture onto your next destination. No one likes to think about their mortality, but the fact is the possibility of tragedy exists. Most athletes that enjoy extreme sports understands risk versus reward so I won’t lecture anybody here but being safe should be your number one priority.

 

Johnny Guyzer is a long time extreme sports enthusiast and although he enjoys the adrenaline rush, he understands that he needs to take care of his family first. That is the reason he buys Alberta life insurance if he plans on skiing in that province and buys Saskatchewan life insurance when he rides dirt bikes out in the Prairies.

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  • Published: Apr 21st, 2011
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Bushcraft experiences in and around the Peak District

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Panorama of the Peak District

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For adventure lovers and outdoor types, the Peak District Derbyshire area is a great place to experience bushcraft. With stunning scenery, dense woodlands, miles of trails and pathways, rivers to cross, and hills to climb, there are ample opportunities to hone your survival skills. An organized course is the best (and legal) way to enjoy wildcamping and bushcraft.

Bushcraft courses usually take place over a weekend, so those wanting a true Peak District experience could choose to make a holiday of it, and stay in one of many stunning Peak District cottages in the area.

Bushcraft is essentially survival skills, living in the natural environment, and using your surroundings to thrive. Used for centuries in Australia and South Africa, bushcraft has gained recent popularity in the UK with Ray Mears’ television series. Wildcamping is technically illegal in England, so bushcraft, camping and survival courses are great ways to experience the outdoors without the trappings of a conventional campsite.

There are now plenty of places to enjoy bushcraft experiences in the Peak District area. Organized outdoor adventures, led by qualified guides and instructors can be incredible learning experiences for the whole family. A weekend experience is a great way to begin your bushcraft adventure – learning basic survival skills such as: shelter building, tracking, firecraft, fishing and foraging. For die-hard adventure lovers, why not combine your bushcraft experience with some of the Peak District’s many extreme sports, such as rafting, mountain biking, climbing and abseiling!

Bushcraft weekends are perfect for the outdoor loving family, a corporate team building experience, or maybe an alternative hen or stag weekend. Head to Moorlands Bushcraft for weekend experiences on the edge of the Peak District, or to Shipley Country Park for bushcraft taster experiences. Also try Woodland Ways experiences, for a huge choice of bushcraft days, weekends and even week-long courses.

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