Paris Olympic Games 1900

What were the weirdest sports at the 1900 Olympic Games?

You may have heard of swimming, rowing, athletics and gymnastics as olympic sports but have you heard of hot air ballooning, delivery van driving, poodle clipping or swimming obstacle races? Well, when France held the 1900 Olympic Games in Paris they had these sports! Most of them being only played once as Official Olympic sports as they failed to get votes.
Top 10 Weirdest Ex-Olympic Sports

Delivery Van Driving

Motor sports occurred in the 1900 France Olympics. This sport included delivery van driving. Competitors raced in delivery vans. France won all the medals but no names were recorded. The event also had truck and taxi driving!

Swimming Events

Swimming obstacle Race

First, competitors had to swim to a pole, then climb up it, then slide down it. Then they'd swim toward some boats, which they had to climb over. After that, swim to more boats and swim under. Overall, they'd swim 200 meters with lots of climbing in between.

Frederick Lane of Australia won the swimming obstacle race, doing it in 2:38.4.

Underwater Swimming

Underwater swimming

Competitors had to swim 60m under water. Two points for each meter swum underwater and one point for each second they stayed under water. Off course this sport wasn't very popular with very small crowds but now we have underwater cameras!


  1. Charles DeVandeville (France), who swam 60 meters in a time of 1 minute and 8.4 seconds (score: 188.4 pts).
  2. André Six (France) 185.4 pts (60 m, 1:05.4)
  3. Peter Lykkeberg (Denmark) 147.0 pts (28.5 m, 1:30.0)


Firefighting was another sport that didn’t make it to 1904. Buildings in Paris were set on fire and medals were given to the winner who could extinguish the flames the fastest.


Olympic tug-of-war was eight-on-eight, and would be won when one team pulled the rope six feet. Britain won most of the medals but the USA coming in second place.

The Olympic tug-of-war athletes were just normal people. The USA squad team was a group of police men.

How did the Australians compare with the French at the 1900 Olympic Games and the 2000 Olympic Games?

Australia has a population of over twenty two million people. France has a population of over sixty five million. This is not surprising that France wins more medals in the Olympic Games. They showed this in the 1900 Paris Olympic Games. France won 101 medals in the 1900 Olympic Games, 26 of them gold, 41 silver and 34 bronze. Australia won 5 medals 2 of them gold, 3 bronze at the 1900 Games. Both gold medals were won . This is a fair amount of medals as France has more athletes to win medals. In the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, Australia got a medal count of 58 medals, 16 of them gold, 25 silver and 17 bronze. France won 38 medals 13 of them gold, 14 silver and 11 bronze. This shows that Australia lifted their standards in the sporting hall of fame. Not only does Australia have three times less of France’s population but they beat France by twenty medals in 2000. I have noticed that when France hosted the 1900 Olympic Games they achieved many more than Australia, and in the 2000 Olympic Games where Australia hosted it, we beat France by twenty medals. I believe that a country always performs better when the Olympics are hosted in their country. This is definitely proven in the 1900 and 2000 Olympic Games.



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Family sitting in local delivery van. 2010. Retrieved 08 August 2012 from

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Participants on diving block. 2007. Retrieved 08 August 2012 from

A fire engine from days of steam. 2009. Retrieved 08 August 2012 from

France Olympics tug-of-war. 2008. Retrieved 08 August 2012 from


Mallon , Bill, 1997. The 1900 Olympic Games: Results for all competitors in All events with commentary. 2nd ed. North Carolina: McFarland.


alltime 10s. (2012). Top 10: Weirdest Ex-Olympic Sports. [Online Video]. 04 October. Available from: [Accessed: 08 August 2012].