As I endured NBC's horribly managed (and tape delayed) Olympic opening ceremony coverage, two thoughts did occur during the ceremony. First, while watching the introductory section of the presentation, I was quite envious of the stunning costumes (especially the hats and goggles), along with the balance of the presentation. (Not so enthusiastic about the remainder of the presentation, though I did find the Queen's lack of interest intriguing). Nonetheless, a very good presentation to start the London Olympics.
The individual games themselves are a mix, however. I enjoy the cycling, equestrian, soccer, and archery events, whist my other half really only cares about the swim events (as she almost qualified for her national team, "back in the day" - another story entirely). Since the Olympics started in what one might call the "latter half" of the Steampunk era, I was wonder, what marvelous sports were ended too soon… and might have been enjoyable to watch, either then or now? Well, I do have a few suggestions, from the kind people from Top End Sports…. and the choices for a new poll question!
Mostly for the "upper crust", I'd imagine it would still be a popular draw…
"Polo was on the Olympic program five times, in 1900, 1908, 1920, 1924 and 1936. In the final game played at the Olympic level in 1936, Argentina won gold in front of a crowd of 45,000 people."
Now, with a few technological tweaks (say, steam-powered mechanical horses), it would be a real sight to behold!
The Dueling Pistol Shooting event!
What is more genre representative than two persons in a duel? Well, it was an event, at least in 1912, if I read correctly…
"The dueling pistol event was held twice, in 1906 (at the Intercallated Games - not officially recognized by the IOC) and 1912. This event required competitors to shoot at mannequins dressed in frock coats. There was a Bull's eye were on the dummy's throat. The event was held over 20 meters and 30 meters."
Sounds outstanding! One can only imaging the unique Steampunk twists the dueling pistols might have…
An endeavor I once called "the sport of the future" (easy to market and violent), lacrosse was entertained as a sport poised for a return in the near future. Unfortunately, alternate options were chose, but I still hope it will see the light of day, with teams from around the world competing in this demanding sport.
"Lacrosse has been on the official Olympic program twice, in 1904 and 1908. In 1904, two Canadian teams challenged a local team from St. Louis, with the Shamrock Lacrosse Team of Winnipeg winning the gold medal. Players on the bronze medal-winning Canadian lacrosse team consisted of Mohawk Indians, and included players named Rain In Face, Snake Eater and Man Afraid Soap. In 1908, only two teams competed, from Canada and Great Britain."
Well… quite popular in Commonwealth countries, but as a Yank, I'm still befuddled with its rules. Still, it is a sport with a huge following, and frankly, I'd hate to be hit with that wooden ball (or have to catch it barehanded)!
"Cricket is currently a very popular sport in many parts of the world, though it has only made one appearance at the Olympic Games, in Paris 1900. There was only a single twelve-a-side match, with a team from England beating a French team (which was made up mostly of Englishmen: British Embassy staff who secured a few days off from the office!). The lack of competing nations and the one-sided affair did not bode well for further inclusion in the Olympic Games.
Other Olympic cricket trivia is that on June 29 1948, the day the London Olympic games began at Wembley Stadium in London, the famed Australian 'Invincibles' cricket side was finishing off England in a test at nearby Lord's, winning by 409 runs."
Era appropriate, I'd say it would a popular ticket!
The Tug of War!
My personal favorite choice, or what I might imagine would be a top choice with the fellows! It was…
"… (an) event was held at the Olympics from 1900 to 1920. Tug-of-war was always contested as a part of the track & field athletics program, although it is now considered a separate sport. This may seem like an unusual Olympic sport, but in fact it was part of the Ancient Olympics, first being held in 500BC.
n the modern Olympics, the tug-of-war contest was between two teams of eight. One team had to pull the other six feet along in order to win. If after 5 minutes no team had done this, the team which had pulled the most was declared the winner."
Certainly any group of men would certainly be chanting and rooting for this! Simple rules, easily decided, and most endearing, brute force is key, and there is always possibility of injury! What is not to like? Alas, I don't see it returning, but one can hope…