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.
- Mixed Team: Sweden & Denmark (comprising 3 Danish athletes and 3 Swedish athletes)
- United States - Milwaukee Athletic Club
- United States - St Louis Southwest Tumverein I
- United States - St Louis Southwest Tumverein II
- United States - New York Athletic Club
- Germany & Switzerland
- Great Britain - City of London Police
- Great Britain - Liverpool Police
- Great Britain - Metropolitan Police
- Great Britain
- Great Britain
- There are some reports of Constantin Henriquez (the first black athlete to compete at the Olympics) competing in the tug of war for France in 1900, though it most likely his compatriot Colombian-born Francisco Henríquez de Zubiría who was part of the French tug-of-war team. Constantin Henriquez was part of the rugby team.
- A Danish journalist who was covering the games, Edgar Aaybe, was recruited into the combined Sweden/Denmark tug of war team in 1900 to replace an ill team member, and went on to win a gold medal.
- The biggest controversy came in 1908 when the Liverpool police team competed in "enormous shoes, so heavy, in fact, it was with great effort they could lift their feet from the ground." The rules had stipulated ordinary shoes, and the Americans protested, but to no avail. The U.S. team subsequently withdrew.
- The Greatest Tug of War Athlete at the Olympic Games
- See the full list of Discontinued Events
- More about the unusual sport of tug of war