Discover the Events Dropped by the Summer Olympics

With the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Japan officially on hold due to the virus pandemic plaguing the rest of the world, the only thing we can do right now is reflect on past events.

While we wait for the next Summer Olympics, let’s take a look at past games that have been discontinued over the years


The IOC has since made hard decisions that made some of the popular and less popular sports disappear from the Summer Olympics program. To learn more about these dropped events and the reason behind their disappearance, read on. 

Discover the Events Dropped by the Summer Olympics


This perennial childhood favorite surprisingly made it on the list of Summer Olympics from 1900 to 1920. Originally requiring five-person teams to pull on the rope and fight for the eventual victory, Tug-of-War found great fans from all over the world. 

Tug-of-War was discontinued after the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium. The countless Tug-of-War casualties are said to be responsible for the IOC removing it from the roster of the Summer Olympics. 


Some of the most unfortunate incidents experienced by those in the game were severed hands, arms being torn off, and lost fingers. Apart from the said mishaps and casualties, the sport was also plagued with controversies. 

After losing to the Liverpool Police Athletic Society, the American manager accused the former of wearing pronged boots to help them win the game. Despite the dangers this game poses, many people still have a hankering for it.

Tandem Cycling

Tandem cycling enjoyed a longer stay in the Summer Olympics, with a place on the Games from 1906 to 1972. The sport was recognized for the exceptional talent and speed of the tandem cyclists as they raced towards the finish line. 


After the 1972 Munich Games, the International Olympic Committee decided to drop tandem cycling after its virtually unmanageable proportions.” 

According to the IOC, continuing the event became harder to shoulder without government funding and support. 

It was dropped alongside nine other sporting events, including the 50-kilometer walk, kayak racing, canoeing, and the 300-meter distance in rifle shooting.


The majestic game of horse-and-mallet was widely celebrated in the 20th Century, particularly in the first 50 years. One of the oldest equestrian sports in existence, the lack of people’s attendance during Polo’s glory days may have contributed to its eventual demise. 

Polo was only on the roster of Games for 1900, 1908, 1920, 1924, and 1936. After 1936, the sport was scrapped by IOC not only as a casualty of the Second World War but also because of its expensive logistics. 

Besides difficulties in shipping horses overseas, the costs of maintaining these goods across an international level were too expensive. After being dropped in the Games, the sport also struggled to regain popularity with the people until the 1970s according to The Atlantic.

While this sport has certainly waned in popularity and momentum, you can still find the Polo sport printed on the famed Ralph Lauren merchandise. 


Cricket made its first and last appearance in 1900. It was initially introduced in Paris with two participating teams, namely France and Great Britain. 

The irony was that the French team was composed mainly of British Embassy employees and expatriates, while the British team was composed of part-time players who had been touring France. 

To add fuel to the fire, The Atlantic reports that the British team won the match by 158 runs, touting the game as one of the more comical events in the Summer Olympics. 

The sport was reportedly removed after an abysmal lack of participants. From the first game in 1900, it appears that the IOC’s decision to remove this from the Summer Games was the correct one.

Discover the Events Dropped by the Summer Olympics

The Bottom Line

Sporting events, especially in the Summer Olympics, have greatly changed over the years. As you can see, the popularity garnered by these sports allowed them to earn a spot in the limelight before being dropped due to a lack of support and attendance. 

One can only hope that your preferred sporting events will continue to be celebrated in the future.