Other Discontinued Sports

There are a number of sports that have been previously included on the Olympic program, but were dropped at different times over the last century. Recently Baseball and Softball were dropped after the 2008 Games. Golf and Rugby Union were discontinued but have been reinstated to the Olympic program for Rio 2016. The following information looks at the history of the discontinued sports at the Olympic Games.

Basque Pelota

Basque Pelota was held as an Olympic sport in Paris 1900. Spain and France were the only two countries that competed and Spain won. It also appeared as a demonstration sport in Paris 1924, Mexico City 1968 and Barcelona 1992. The sport entails a variety of court sports played with a ball using one's hand, a racquet, a wooden bat or a basket, against a wall or with two teams face to face separated by a line on the ground or a net.

Rugby Union

Rugby Union made its debut at the 1900 Olympic Games in Paris where France won gold after defeating both Great Britain and Germany. Australia competed alongside New Zealand as Australasia at the 1908 London Olympic Games. With the majority of the best English and Welsh players on tour in New Zealand, the Cornwall Rugby Team represented the British and were no match for the Australasian side who won gold after a 32-3 victory. The USA would go on and win the gold medal at the 1920 Antwerp Games and the 1924 Paris Games - the final two Olympic appearances of the sport. Rugby Sevens will make its debut at the Rio 2016 Games. 


Cricket was scheduled to appear in the first Modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896; however the matches were cancelled due to an insufficient number of competitors. Cricket’s only Olympic appearance was at Paris 1900. Olympic cricket lasted just two days and with only two teams. Great Britain is the current Olympic champion, defeating France.


Croquet was held as an Olympic sport in Paris 1900. Three croquet events were contested and seven men and three women participated. France, with nine of the 10 competitors, won all the medals. Belgium was the only other nation to send a croquet player, though he did not finish the first round of his competition. This was the only Olympiad where croquet was part of the official program.

Jeu de paume

Jeu de paume was a demonstration sport in Paris 1900 and Paris 1924. It was an Olympic sport only in London 1908. The male athletes came from the United States and Great Britain with USA taking gold and Great Britain the silver and bronze. Jeu de paume means "game of palm” and is similar to tennis, played without racquets.


Lacrosse was contested as a full medal sport at the St. Louis 1904 and London 1908 Olympic Games. In 1904, two Canadian teams challenged a local team from St. Louis, with the Shamrock Lacrosse Team of Winnipeg winning the gold medal. Lacrosse was also a demonstration sport at the Olympics in 1928, 1932 and 1948, and an exhibition tournament was held at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Dubbed hockey’s older brother, Lacrosse is an ancient game where tribes used sticks to hit a ball. The name comes from a game the French used to play, similar to field hockey, called jeu de la crosse.


Polo was on the Olympic program at Paris 1900, London 1908, Antwerp 1920, Paris 1924 and Berlin 1936. The team from Great Britain were Olympic champions in 1900, 1908 and 1920, and Argentina won the gold in 1924 and 1936. Polo is now an active sport in 77 countries, and although its tenure as an Olympic sport was limited, in 1998 the IOC recognised it as a sport with a bona fide international governing body, the Federation of International Polo.


Rackets was held as an Olympic sport, just once, in London 1908. Two rackets events were contested and only British players entered the competitions. Rackets is an indoor racket sport played in the United Kingdom, United States, and Canada.


At the 1904 Summer Olympics in St. Louis, a roque tournament was contested. The United States was the only nation to have athletes participate. It was the only time that roque was included in the Olympic program. Roque is an American variant of croquet played on a hard, smooth surface.


Tug-of-war was an official Olympic sport and featured at the Games in Paris 1900, St. Louis 1904, Athens 1906 (Intercalated Games), London 1908, Stockholm 1912 and Antwerp 1920. Tug-of-war was always contested as a part of the athletics program, although it is now considered a separate sport. The Olympic champions were as follows: 1900: a combined Swedish/Danish team; 1904: an American club team representing the Milwaukee Athletic Club; 1906: Germany/Switzerland; 1908: a British team from the City of London Police Club; 1912: Sweden; and 1920: Great Britain.

Water Motorsports

After appearing as a demonstration sport in 1900, water motorsports, with three motorboat racing events, became an Olympic sport in London 1908 but has not been on the Olympic Program since.

Olympic History