For those of you mourning the fact that baseball will not be part of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London (or the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro), don’t worry because you’re not alone -- there are legions of croquet enthusiasts, tug-of-war fanatics and solo synchronized swimming fans out there who have experienced a similar loss.
At the first modern Olympic Games held in Athens in 1896, nine sports were contested: wrestling, fencing, athletics (track and field events), cycling, tennis, swimming, weightlifting, gymnastics and shooting. Over the years, that number has increased significantly with the inclusion of everything from table tennis to taekwondo, from basketball to badminton. While many of these new additions have stuck around, others have been phased out indefinitely for one reason or another by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Many of these discontinued Summer Olympic sports and disciplines, both of official and demonstration variety, fall into the “odd” and/or “obscure” category. Here’s a look at nine of them, listed alongside the year that marked their last -- and in many cases, only -- appearance. Now, if you’ll excuse us, we’re off to play a game of korfball.
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