Sports at the Olympics have changed over the years. Things have been added that we would never have expected, and some didn’t even seem like they were a sport exactly. One of those strange “sports” that were once a part of the Olympics was the Tug-of-war. It is sport-like I guess, so that at least puts it in the right classification. It is comprised of two teams, who go against each other, so in that way, it fits too. Still, it has always seemed more like a revenge battle than an Olympic sport to me. Nevertheless, once a sport is voted in by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), it becomes an official sport in the Olympics. There are requirements, of course. The IOC requires “that the activity have administration by an international nongovernmental organization that oversees at least one sport. Once a sport is recognized, it then moves to International Sports Federation (IF) status.” A sport can be taken out of the Olympics too, and probably just as easily.

Tug of War was part of the Olympic schedule between 1900 and 1920. It was part of 5 different Summer Olympic Games. It seems such an odd thing to have a Tug-of-war…a school battle game as a serious part of such prestigious games. Nevertheless, here they were. The nation to win the most medals in Tug-of-war was Britain, having taken five medals. They were followed by the USA with three.

Tug-of-War was removed from the Olympic Program after the 1920 Games along with 33 other sports. The reason behind the removals was that the IOC decided there were too many sports and too many participants competing, so the decision was made to remove a number of sports, and unfortunately, one of those was Tug-of-War. I’m not sure why that seems sad to me, except that it had persevered up to that point, only to be pulled out of the Olympics…THE OLYMPICS!! Somehow, it seems unfair. Such a big event, and to think that this sport that Tug-of-War was dropped from the Olympic program. Nevertheless, after Antwerp 1920, it was dropped. Leading up to the 1920 removal, was the 1912 Olympics when a number of countries withdrew from the Tug-of-War competition. That meant that the only match that occurred was between Great Britain and Sweden. The battle was a hard-won victory for Sweden, who eventually won after the British team sat down in the second pull, leading to their disqualification. That was the end of it. It just seems so sad to me…because at one time, it was an accepted event, a worthy battle, and now it was over.

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