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Animals and the Olympic Games

Other than the animals depicted as Olympic Games mascots, the only current Olympic events that involve animals are the equestrian events (and the equestrian part of modern pentathlon). However, this has not always been the case.

Ancient Olympics

In the Ancient Olympics, chariot races and horse racing were once part of the program, and animal sacrifice was often a component of the ceremonies surrounding the events.

Modern Olympics

In modern times, a shooting event called live pigeon shooting was held in 1900. The objective of this event was to shoot and kill as many birds as possible. This was the first and only time in Olympic history when animals were killed on purpose. In 1988 birds were again killed at the Olympics, but accidentally this time. At the opening ceremony a flock of doves was released into the stadium and unfortunately as the cauldron was lit some of the birds were burned to death.

a chariot race, from Project Gutenberg's Eighth Reader, by James Baldwin and Ida C. Bender modern day chariot racers

Sounds Like Animals

What sounded like an animal shooting event was on the program between 1908 till 1948. In the running deer shooting event, however, the "deer' in this case were targets in the shape of deer. Similarly, iIn 1900 and 1920, the popinjay or pole archery events involve shooting arrows at artificial birds that were placed on cross beams suspended from a large pole.

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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.

Major Events Extra

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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