We are missing out on the Olympic Games for 2020, so we thought we’d bring you some trivia to think about while we wait for next year.

In 1896 the American Olympic Team almost missed the Athens games because Greece was still on the Julian calendar. (The modern Gregorian calendar is 13 days ahead)

Some unusual events have featured in Olympic competition at different times – amongst these are rope climbing, hot air ballooning, solo synchronised swimming.

Other sports have undergone changes that make one wonder what were organisers thinking in the first place. Pigeon shooting using live pigeons was included in the Paris Olympics in 1900. Shooters were allowed only one shot. Mercifully the live birds were replaced with clay pigeons in later games. Pistol duelling was included in the London Olympics in 1908. Duellists used wax bullets and were allowed a mask, coat and hand guards for protection.

The high jump was initially performed from a standing start. Similarly long jumpers started from a standing start, but were allowed to use dumbbells as counter-weights.

In the 1900 Paris Olympics competitors were not awarded medals, but received pieces of art. Gold, silver and bronze medals were introduced in 1904.

Between 1912-1948 there were Olympic competitions for artists, writers and musicians.

The 1904 Olympics, originally scheduled for Chicago, were transferred to St Louis to coincide with the World Fair held to commemorate the centenary of the Louisiana Purchase. The games and the exhibition became mixed and the result was a chaotic farce

The 1908 games were originally given to Rome but were moved to London when Mt Vesuvius erupted

Andrew West


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One Comment

Mrs Judith Dau (née Nelson)

I lead a pupil at North Strathfield Public School about 1940-1948 and I remember a girl from the children’s home. Her name was Mercy Sainsberry and I have often wondered what happened to her.