The sight of two women bashing each other round the head first appeared as a demonstration event at the 1902 games in Paris, but didn’t catch on. I suppose it was too much for Pierre de Coubertin’s French philogynous sensibilities to bear.
It is just one example of sports that have fallen in and out of favour with the IOC over the years, but for me it is the non-sporting competitions that are the greatest loss.
Like the Engravings and Etchings category in the Painting division, or Lyric and Speculative Works of Literature. Then there was the Mixed Sculpting event, although whether this implied a mixed sex team isn’t clear.
In 1948 there was dispiriting news for the Italian Gabriele Bianchi who could only manage a bronze medal in the vocal music category, even though he appears to have been the only entrant.
But by far and away the greatest loss is the Town Planning event held at four Olympiads and won in Los Angeles in 1932 by English architect, John Hughes, for his design for a Sports and Recreation Centre with Stadium in Liverpool.
You can find a full list of Olympic medalists in art competitions over at Wikipedia. Sadly they fell out of favour after London 1948 because they breached the spirit of amateurism since that is how the artists made their living between games. Ironic really, given the professionalism of the modern Olympics.
It set me thinking though – what non-sporting events are we missing from London 2012? The obvious one for me would be Freestyle Blogging, but I wondered if you had any suggestions.
Specifically, which new events would give different countries the best chance of winning gold?