As the madness in London is about to begin, the thing I want to know is why the tug-of-war is no longer an Olympic sport. That’s right – eight men or women at the end of a sturdy piece of rope, pulling with all their might for king and country.
The tug-of-war actually was an Olympic sport beginning in 1900 and ending in 1920. No one seems to know why it was discontinued. It is inconceivable to me that golf and ice dancing and that gymnastics thing with the hoops and ribbons are all Olympic sports while the elemental battle of the tug-of-war can find no love at all.
Can you imagine if we’d had the tug-of-war all along, in every Olympics year? England vs. Germany in 1936? U.S.A. vs. U.S.S.R. in 1960? (Would you care to cast in your head a Dirty Dozen-type movie about that one?) Israel vs. Egypt in 1968? The TV ratings would be off the charts. And can you imagine what the East German women’s tug-of-war team would have looked like? Epic.
Today’s match-up wouldn’t be bad either. North Korea vs. South Korea would be a highly entertaining spectacle, as would Australia vs. New Zealand or, I don’t know, ANY MATCH AT ALL!!
I suppose it’s too much to hope for a return in my lifetime, but you know what? I’m pulling for it.