I found this story on Futility Closet here. In honor of the Olympic Games, I thought I might post this interesting story from 1908.
"Italian marathoner Dorando Pietri was exhausted and dehydrated as he neared the finish line in the 1908 Olympic Games, and when he entered the stadium he took a wrong turn and collapsed. The umpires helped him up, but he stumbled further and collapsed again. 75,000 agonized spectators watched him fall three more times before he found the finish line; of his total time of 2:54:46, he spent fully 10 minutes on the last 350 meters.
"Unbelievably, they disqualified him. The American team complained that he’d received help from the umpires, and he was removed from the final standings. But Queen Alexandra gave him a silver cup, at the suggestion of Arthur Conan Doyle, and Irving Berlin wrote a song for him. He died in 1942 at age 56."
According to CNN, there have also been some really, really strange Olympic events which include:
1.) Solo synchronized swimming (1984-1992)
2.) Tug of War (1908)
3.) Roller Hockey, which is just like ice hockey, but on roller skates (1992)
4.) Live pigeon shooting (1900)
5.) Obstacle course swimming, where they put a bunch of crap in the water and swimmers had to navigate around it (1900)
6.) La Canne, which was a French martial art kind of like fencing, but with canes instead of epees (1924)
7.) Rope climbing (1932)
8.) Club swinging, where athletes . . . swing . . . clubs (1904)
9.) Trampolining (no dates given)
10.) Race walking, where you are racing but must remain at a walk. Technically they qualify this by the athletes always having one foot on the ground at all times (no dates given)
Then I found at the Olympic Museum webpage that there was an Arts competition included in the Olympics from 1912-1948. Events included:
1.) Architectural designs
2.) Town Planning designs
3.) Sculpture (including categories of "sculpture", "medals", and "reliefs")
4.) Painting and Graphic Arts (including categories "applied graphics", "drawings and water colors", and "painting")
5.) Literature (including categories "dramatic works", "epics", "lyrics" and an "all kinds" catch-all category).
6.) Music ("composition for one instrument", "composition for orchestra", "composition for soloist or choir")
7.) Aeronautics (aka, flying over things, not sure how that's in the arts, but okay)
8.) Alpinism (aka, mountain climbing. Again, not sure how that's in the arts)