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Tug-of-War at the Olympics

The tug of war event was held at the Olympics from 1900 to 1920. Tug-of-war was always contested as a part of the track & field athletics program, although it is now considered a separate sport. This may seem like an unusual Olympic sport, but in fact it was part of the Ancient Olympics, first being held in in 500BC.

In the modern Olympics, the tug-of-war contest was between two teams of eight. One team had to pull the other six feet along in order to win. If after five minutes no team had done this, the team which had pulled the greatest distance was declared the winner.


The best all-time performing Tug of War athletes at the Olympic Games were Frederick Humphreys, Edwin Mills and John James Shepherd, each with two gold medals and one silver. See more on the Greatest Tug of War Athlete at the Olympic Games.


  1. Mixed Team: Sweden & Denmark (comprising 3 Danish athletes and 3 Swedish athletes)
  2. France


  1. United States - Milwaukee Athletic Club
  2. United States - St Louis Southwest Tumverein I
  3. United States - St Louis Southwest Tumverein II
  4. United States - New York Athletic Club
tug of war tug of war


  1. Germany & Switzerland
  2. Greece
  3. Sweden


  1. Great Britain - City of London Police
  2. Great Britain - Liverpool Police
  3. Great Britain - Metropolitan Police


  1. Sweden
  2. Great Britain
  3. None


  1. Great Britain
  2. Netherlands
  3. Belgium


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Olympics Extra

The next Olympics will be in Paris 2024, followed by the Winter edition in Milan-Cortina 2026. Check out the list of Olympic Games sports, as well as discontinued and demonstration sports.

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The largest sporting event in the world is the Olympic Games, but there are many other multi-sport games. In terms of single sport events, nothing beats the FIFA World Cup. To see what's coming up, check out the calendar of major sporting events.

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