Sunday, May 4, 2008

Tug-of-War was once an Olympic sport!

And the world was a much better place for it.

About two weeks ago I got really excited about starting a blog about the Olympics and politics and weird sports. I went to the library and checked out a ton of books-- all of which would be due two weeks later. In an effort to not hold the entire Olympics collection hostage, I've been trying to figure out which books to send back. Some of them have stuff that is just too good to lose without mention.

So here we go-- random trip through random factoids from random library books. Awesome!

Sports that weren't:
The pankerton was basically a super intense game of uncle-- no rounds, no time limits, and few rules. Competitors were only restricted from gouging eyes and biting, but apparently "pankratiasts often got away with both."
Pigeon shooting was an official sport in Paris in 1900. Now they use clay pigeons, the spoilsports.

Speaking of spoilsports, my Eyewitness Olympics book (you know the brand-- lots of pretty pictures and lengthy informative captions) has an entire two pages devoted to spoilsports. Here is the list of spoilsports, as far as I can tell:

Palestinian terrorists in 1972
Hitler
Idi Amin
World Wars. Just, you know, in general.


Hitler was the spoilsport, not Jesse Owens.


Sources:
Eyewitness Books, Olympics, published 1999.
Image comes from Amazon.com and is the cover of a VHS tape, I think.

Edit: For a more detailed discussion of just how Hitler was a spoilsport and a more thorough discussion of the Jesse Owens story, see my new blog post: Jesse Owens and Hitler.

8 comments:

Emily said...

When does Quidditch get to be an Olympic sport? Please?

Emily said...

Oh, also, something's weird with the page title on the top of the window...it's reading as Five Rings: Mount Olymics.

Lex said...

YES to quidditch being an Olympic sport. It's unisex, so we're good there. Perhaps the unreasonable constraints of gravity will have a deleterious impact, however. Which is TOTALLY UNFAIR. Seriously.

Ummm... isn't that what it's supposed to read? Do you think it would be better if it were Mount Olympics: Five Rings? Five Rings (dot blogspot dot com) was already taken as a url, which is why I didn't pick it. Get rid of the five rings entirely? Hmmm.

As an aside, the IOC still insists that there are only five continents. Okay, so not that many Olympians hail from Antarctica (at least, not until they add penguin luge as an official sport), but are they discounting Australia as well? Or maybe South America? I mean, really guys. Seven continents. SEVEN.

Emily said...

Well, no, it's the absence of the P in the title that I'm objecting to. The URL is right, it's just the title.

Actually, I know this one. The Americas count as one continent. And Antarctica does not exist. Which I think goes to show that international organizations, for all of their other worthy qualities, are 95% of the time MAKING THINGS UP.

Julius said...

we have this movie in my school!!!
in the movie hall.

Julius said...

we have this movie in my school!!!
in the movie hall.

Julius said...

we have this movie in my school!!!
in the movie hall.

Lex said...

Awesome, Julius! Have you seen it?