What Was the Least Popular Olympic Sport?

It is thought that croquet can trace its origins back to the 16th and 17th centuries, to a French lawn game called paille-maille, derived from the Latin terms for “ball" and "mallet.” This French form of ground billiards became popular as "pall-mall" in 17th-century Britain, during the reign of Charles II. The leisurely lawn game has had enthusiasts ever since, and croquet was even included in the Olympics -- but only once. During the 1900 Summer Games in Paris, only seven men and three women competed, and they all represented France. An Englishman was the only person who bought a ticket to see the events.

The weird and wonderful world of Olympic sports:

  • Two female croquet players -- identified as Madame Brohy and Mademoiselle Ohnier -- became the first women to compete in the modern Olympic Games.
  • Several other odd activities have become Olympic events, if only briefly. An eight-man tug-of-war was also introduced at the Paris Games in 1900, but it was dropped after the Antwerp Games of 1920.
  • A variation of skeet shooting was also held at the Paris Games. Instead of clay pigeons, participants shot at real pigeons. More than 300 birds were killed during the event.
More Info: Croquet World

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