Some seriously strange sports have appeared at the Olympic Games over the years. Tug of war or live pigeon shooting, anyone?
With Rio 2016 kicking off on Friday, The Huffington Post takes a look at some of the weirdest events to have taken place at previous Olympiads.
Warning: Some are definitely not for the faint-hearted!
Check them out here:
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It would have been an animal rights activist's worst nightmare. Almost 300 birds were reportedly killed
when the live pigeon shooting event made its only Olympic appearance at the Paris Games in 1900.
Belgian Leon de Lunden
gunned down 21 birds to take the title. But he was unable to repeat his win, as future Games saw the live animals replaced with clay targets.
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Great Britain Tug Of War Team by Topical Press Agency via Getty Images
Tug of War featured in five modern Olympic Games
, from Paris 1900 through to Antwerp 1920 (1916’s Olympiad was cancelled after the outbreak of World War I).
Teams of eight had five minutes to pull their opponents six feet over a line. If there was no winner after the time limit expired, the team who’d pulled their rivals the furthest would win. Milwaukee Athletics Club
represented Team USA and won gold at the 1904 Games in St. Louis, Missouri. Pictured here is the Great Britain team taking on Ireland in the London 1908 competition.
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Team USA’s William Dickey
remains the reigning Olympic champion in the plunge for distance, some 112 years after winning gold at the 1904 Games in St. Louis, Missouri.
That’s because the event was never repeated
. Dickey managed to glide below the surface for an astonishing 62 feet and 6 inches after diving into the water.
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The sedate sport of croquet
appeared at the Olympics on just one occasion, at Paris in 1900
. It's notable for being the first Olympic event in which women took part
-- albeit against their male counterparts and not in their own competition.
Home nation France took gold in all four categories, but the sport was removed from subsequent Olympiads after just one spectator
reportedly showed up to watch.
Rope climbing featured at five Olympics, from 1896 to 1932
. From a seated start, athletes used only their hands to clamber up 49 feet at Athens 1896, and then 25 feet of rope in the later events.
Greece’s Nikolaus Andriakopoulos
(pictured) won the inaugural Olympiad. He was one of just two people to make it all the way to the top that year.
At the 1904 Games in St. Louis, Missouri, Team USA's George Eyser
took the title. His feat was all the more incredible because he had one wooden leg.
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Tandem cycling, which saw two two-men teams racing over 2,000 meters, was a major fixture of the Olympic program from 1908 to 1972
It lives on at the Paralympics
. Pictured here are Germany’s Ernst Ihbe and Charly Lorenz
— who took home the gold medal at Berlin 1936.
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