Encyclopedia of Sport: Every sport from around the world

Tug-of-War

Tug of War, also known as tug o' war or rope pulling, has a long history. The origins are very old, possibly originally part of a ritual or religious contest. Tug of war was even part of the Ancient Olympics, first being held in in 500BC. You may also be surprised to know that it was even held at the modern Olympics from 1900 to 1920 (see more about Olympic Tug of War competition).

Tug-of-war contests are held between two teams of eight competitors in each team. The teams align themselves at each end of the rope, the aim of the competition is to pull the other along in order to win.

Eight athletes are on each of the two opposing teams. The rope is between 33.5 and 36 meters in length, 10 to 12.5 cm in diameter and usually made of hemp. The best athletes of each team are usually the ones first in line - as well as the anchor, the last man or woman, who may wrap the rope around his or her body. The team pulling the center of the rope four meters past the starting point is declared the winner.

tug of war team tug of war team

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