The first few Olympic Games of the modern era were chaotic events with a dizzying array of games, one of the most popular of which was Tug of War. Although it may seem a strange choice, since it is now mostly thought of as a kid’s game, Tug of War was actually a main event of the Olympic games in Ancient Greece.
Tug of War, a game in which two teams of six to eight men on either end of a rope try to pull the other team over a line in the center, was a main event in the Track and Field category. Countries did not have an official Olympic Tug of War team, though—the competition was entered by individual clubs, which meant that several medals could be won by a single country. The most interesting sweep was in 1908, when the Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals were won by the City of London Police, the Liverpool Police, and Great Britain Metropolitan Police K Division, respectively.
From 1900 to 1920, the sport was a crowd favorite. However, during the five Olympic Games in which the sport was played, only seven countries ever competed in the game. (No games were held in 1916 due to the outbreak of World War I.) In fact, in 1900 and 1912 no Bronze medals were given for Tug of War because only two teams entered the event. Tug of War made its last appearance at the Olympics was at the 1920 Antwerp games.
Great Britain dominated the sport, winning five of the thirteen total awards given. It is no surprise that a petition has been started in England to bring Tug of War back for the London 2012 Olympic Games.