Excerpt from the book Sports the Olympics Forgot This book describes 40 sports that ought to be played but aren’t, because I made them up.


In the first contest in 1894 there were only two races – the first was the “to the end of the field race” and the other was the “to the end of the field and back again race”, both of which were won by Sidney Maunders, who won both races again the following year along with the “round the edge of the field race”. With the advent of the first Olympics of the modern era in 1896 it was decided that the races should be run over proper distances. This meant that the Skipping Games in 1896 adopted all the Olympic running events and adapted them for skipping.

One non-Olympic event that was included in the 1896 Games was the steeplechase where competitors had to hurdle walls, gates, and streams as they headed towards a church steeple in the distance and had all the time to be skipping. This also lead to a short-lived event, confined to just 1897, where people had to skip rope as they ran away from bulls in a field. This contest was deemed to be a failure due to the high number of injuries when people got their ropes stuck around the bull’s horns. It was decided to continue with the steeplechase, but to choose a course that avoided fields containing cows and bulls, though sheep were deemed to be jumpable and so were OK.