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7 Head-Scratching Moments in Olympics History

By Kenton Koszdin Law Office on February 19, 2014 | In General

The Winter Olympics in Sochi have been home to some strange happenings this year – half-finished hotels, warm weather, ice dancing receiving news coverage – but these pale in comparison to many of the moments in the history of the competition.

In the spirit of celebrating the Olympics and everything they represent, the legal team at the Kenton Koszdin Law Office decided to highlight some of the strangest aspects of these games.

Enjoy these 7 unbelievable facts about the Olympic Games we know and love.

  1. Tug-of-War Was a Sport – From 1900 until 1920, tug-of-war was a regular Olympic competition, pitting teams of 12 athletes against one another. The rules were the same as any game that family members are forced to play by an overzealous dad today at parks across America. Countries could actually submit more than one team, known as a club, at one Olympics, leading to multiple medals for single countries.
  2. Ski Ballet – Just like figure skating, but with snow and awkward tumbles instead of ice and elegant spins. While it was only a demonstration sport in the ’88 and ’92 Winter Olympics, it’s something of a cult classic. Neon clothed skiers performing rolls, jumps, leg crosses, and flips in the snow to music definitely leaves a lasting impression.
  3. Cheating Women Lugers – There was something special about the East German Women’s Luge Team during the 1968 Winter Olympics. They seemed to cut through the ice in a way no other competitor could. The reason? They were heating their sleds right before they went on the track, leading to one of their members winning gold. The truth was uncovered and disqualifications were given.
  4. The Horrors of Pigeon Shooting – The 1900 Olympics in Paris were the only time that Live Pigeon Shooting was an event. And with good cause. The crowds reacted with horror as more than 300 birds were killed and the field was splattered with blood and feathers.
  5. The Meaning Behind the Modern Pentathlon – The modern pentathlon has athletes from across the globe compete in a marathon composed of five different sports: fencing, a 200-meter swim, a 12-jump course on an unfamiliar horse, a 3 kilometer cross-country run, and pistol shooting. A strange combination of events. Why? The event is meant to simulate what would be experienced by a 19thcentury soldier stranded behind enemy lines. No further explanation has been given as to why this event still exists.
  6. The Disastrous 1900 Olympics Marathon – It seems like the 1900 Olympics in Paris were a breeding ground for chaos. In particular, the marathon event was a mangled disaster. Event planners created a poorly mapped route that confused many runners and sent crowds through busy streets. Pedestrians randomly joined in on the run, some athletes hitched rides to pass up the competition, some quit by stopping at cafes they passed, and controversy surrounded who was the true winner. And it was all done on a 102 degree afternoon.
  7. Crowd Attacks Referee – Boxing crowds can really get involved with a match, but this time it was literal. After a referee penalized a Korean boxer in a match at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, the crowds, along with several coaches, rushed into the ring and attacked the referee. He eventually escaped the mob with the help of local police.

Know any other crazy facts about the Olympics we didn’t cover? Let us know!

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