Rio de Janeiro (Getty Images)
London - The
programme has varied greatly over the years since the first modern
Games in 1896. AFP Sport looks at five former Olympic sports you won't
be seeing this year in Rio:
Live pigeon shooting
Pigeon shooting featured for the first - and only - time at the
Paris Olympics in 1900, where around 300 birds were killed in the
pursuit of sporting glory. The event was messy: six birds were released
in front of the shotgun-wielding competitor, who was eliminated if he
missed two of them. The result was an awful lot of blood and dead birds,
although the event was described as "very aristocratic" in the official
Olympic report. Belgium's Leon de Lunden was champion for downing 21
birds, one more than runner-up Maurice Faure of France; Australia's
Donald MacIntosh was third with 18 kills. However, the gory event does
not get a mention on the Olympics results database, and it has not
reappeared at the Games since.
Twelve years later, at the Stockholm Games in 1912, there was also
plenty of shooting but happily, less blood. The duelling competition
wasn't to the death with pistols at dawn; rather, shooters would fire at
dummies 30 metres (33 yards) away dressed in frock coats, with a target
placed at the throat. America's Al Lane, aged only 20, took gold, ahead
of Sweden's Paul Palen and Hubner von Holst. The event later morphed
into the men's 25m rapid-fire pistol, a category which endures to this
The forerunner of rhythmic gymnastics was a medal sport in 1904 at St
Louis and in Los Angeles in 1932. America's George Roth won the gold in
1932 when the Games were held in the midst of the Great Depression.
Reports claimed that unemployed Roth was awarded his gold medal and then
So beloved of school sports days, the sport was once part of the
track and field programme and featured in the five Olympic Games from
1900 to 1920. The 1908 gold was won by a team of British policemen, but
it was a controversial victory as the United States protested over their
rivals' footwear. A report at the time said the police team competed
"in enormous shoes, so heavy, in fact, it was with great effort they
could lift their feet from the ground".
Golf and rugby will both make long-awaited returns to the Olympics in
Rio, but there's no sign of another appearance by cricket, which was
played just once at Paris 1900, with limited success. The gold medal was
contested by Britain and France after Belgium and Holland pulled out.
The British side was a touring team, the Devon and Somerset Wanderers,
while the French side was made up of expatriate Britons living in Paris.
Britain won the match, staged at the Velodrome de Vincennes, while the
host nation was sniffily written off. "The French temperament is too
excitable to enjoy the game and no Frenchman can be persuaded to play
more than once," scoffed a newspaper report at the time.