Korfball, Tug of War, and 9 Weird Olympic Sports That Need to Make a Comeback


Olympic sports do come and go, and in the modern era, there have been some great sports that have been discontinued for play at the Olympic Games. But, perhaps like fashion, some of these are bound to make a great comeback. 

There is a lot of flexibility and flux when it comes to sports. The only summer sports that have been played at every Olympics are fencing, athletics, swimming, and artistic gymnastics, and on the winter side, hockey, skating, and skiing. Everything else is up in the air. Currently, there is a huge push to sports like roller and inline skating, pole dancing (to get over the stigmatism of this being a stripper event, they call it PD), chess, shin kicking, and yoga (check out a full list here) fully recognized by the IOC.

On Twitter,  the hashtag #rejectedolympicsports has been blowing up. While some quality suggestions have been thrown around, including imitating Andres Cantor’s “GOOOOAALLL!,” quidditch, the cinnamon challenge, and baseball. But never fear, Rio 2016 will allow at least one of those rejected sports to make its comeback to the Olympic Stage.

Here are the top 9 sports that have been left out of the Olympic Games:

1) Art 

From 1912-1948, an athlete could medal in five art categories including music, painting, literature, sculpture, and architecture. All the works were inspired or were to draw motivation from sports. It was discontinued because the artists were considered professionals, and Olympic athletes have to be amateurs. While this ideal of a “smart” or “non-athletic” sport of Art may never make a comeback, there is a huge push by the Philippians to have Chess included in the 2014 Sochi games.

Above is a is gold medal winning drawing "Rugby" by Jean Jacoby.

2) Polo 

“The Sport of Kings” used to be on the Olympic Program back in the 1900 Games. It was heavily contested in another four Olympiads before being removed from the program after the 1936 Summer Olympics. However, the cost of assembling, maintaining, and transporting a team of polo ponies is greater than the GDP of about 90% of the world’s nations … buzz kill.

3) Tug of War 

Back when London was hosting its very first Olympiad, Tug of War was included in the Games. However, this rope sport was left out of the Olympics after the 1920s. Back in the 1800s, most prominent universities had a Tug of War team. Interesting that a sport that was once accepted and commonplace has now become something for picnics and family reunions.

Pictured above is the Tug of War competition during the 1904 Games.

4) Water Motorsports 

At the 1908 Summer Olympics, three motorboat racing events were contested. All three events used the same distance, five laps around an 8 nautical mile course for a total of 40 nautical miles. In each of the events, multiple boats started but only one finished, due to the gale that was blowing during the competition. This may be the only sport that only Gold medals were issued. After this year, the IOC decided that the Games were not about motorized competition.

5) Croquet 

Back in 1900, 10 athletes competed for Croquet greatness (9 French and 1 Belgian). Seven men and three women competed in a doubles and singles completion. France won all the medals and could have built on this dynasty, but sadly, this was the only year with any wickets. I kind of picture this like the summer equivalent of Curling and I am sad that it went the way of the Dodo.

6) Lacrosse

Lacrosse has been contested in two Olympics and demonstrated in another three. There are a lot of angry LAXers out there who want it back in the Olympics. But, lacrosse still doesn't have a strong presence in Europe or Asia and has no presence in South America or Africa. It needs to have a presence in 75 countries and over 4 continents. 

Note: these next sports have only be demonstrated at Olympics; no medals, but still golden.

7) Ballooning 

Again a 1900 Olympic debut, London was a hopping place back in the day. I am not really sure how this could be an Olympic event. Would it be a race? And this is kind of like Power Boating, a sport that would be almost too much reliant on the craft and not on the athlete. Besides, if a gale or any wind occurred, it could whisk away the entire field of participants. But it is such a cool idea and would be gorgeous to watch. 

8) Surf Lifesaving 

Like Ballooning, this was also unveiled in London. This would be the one sport that is about saving people, quite literally a Superman-like feat. It combines key aspects of voluntary lifeguarding services and competitive surf sport. This is one of those sports that you need to see to believe.

9) Korfball 

This would be awesome and America would be so bad at it. This is a mixed gender sport where a team of 8 (4 girls 4 boys) play a basketball-like game outside. It would be different and pretty awesome to have a co-ed sport. Think of the intrigue! It originated in Amsterdam and was considered super controversial back in its Olympic demonstration in 1928. The women were showing bare ankles and knees! Just think about Beach Volleyball where the women show bare …everything.