With events of the 2012 London Olympics just a little more than a month away, it's time for a certain group of sports purists to dust off the particulars of their perpetual argument: There are some sports included in the worldwide Olympic games that are simply not true sports.
On Tuesday, the online news source Mother Nature Network posted an excellent article by writer Matt Hickman in which he flipped the coin, and talked about events that once were, but no longer are, a part of the Olympic venue.
Hickman notes that at the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, nine sports were included: wrestling, fencing, athletics (track and field events), cycling, tennis, swimming, weightlifting, gymnastics and shooting.
Over the years, many others have come and gone, often instigated by the hosting country, holding an event that may be popular in that particular country.
This year, the number of contested sports is down from 2008 Beijing. Twenty-six events will be contested.
For instance, baseball is gone. And solo synchronized swimming has left the pool.
Here's Hickman's list of some unusual sports that were once Olympic, but no more:
- Croquet — 1900, Paris
- Live pigeon shooting — 1900, Paris
- Hot air ballooning — 1900, Paris (unofficial)
- Tug-of-war — 1920, Antwerp
- Glima — 1912, Stockholm (demonstration)
- Korfball — 1928, Amsterdam (demonstration)
- Club swinging — 1932, Los Angeles
- Water skiing — 1972, Munich (demonstration)
- Solo synchronized swimming — 1992, Barcelona
What are your thoughts? Should we get back to nine contested sports, and eliminate things like Taekwondo, or Canoeing/Kayaking, or Table Tennis? Or do these extra sports add a little variety to the Games, and make for more enjoyable experiences for us as we watch?
Let us know in your comments, then vote in the poll below.