Did You Know That Tug-Of-War Was An Olympic Sport?

Great Britain walked away with more medals than any other competitor.

When we think about tug-of-war, we often do so with a bit of nostalgia. After all, it was an enjoyable pastime that we may have played on the playground or perhaps in gym at school.

What most people don’t know, however, is that early in the 20th century, tug-of-war was actually an Olympic sport!

Photo: New York Public Library/Russell Lee

Unlike some sports that have very complex rules, there weren’t all that many rules with tug-of-war. You had to stand on one end of a rope and try to drag the other team in your direction.

When they moved far enough in your direction, you would be the winner. Each team had up to eight contenders and they wore uniforms.

Photo: YouTube/Olympics

During the summer Olympics from 1900 until 1920, tug-of-war could be found as an Olympic sport. Not many countries were competing at that time, but they continued to keep playing it.

As far as the biggest winner, Great Britain walked away with more medals than any other competitor.

Photo: YouTube/Olympics

Although most of us might think of tug-of-war as being a contest of brute strength, it did contain some strategy. There may also have been some cheating going on, as there were occasions when one team would accuse the other team of using spikes to keep them from moving when they were being pulled.

You can check out a video shared by the Olympics International Committee of tug of war being played during the 1912 Olympics, Great Britain vs. Sweden, by clicking here.