Unless there's a Michael Phelps-like performance from one of the judo athletes at London Olympic Games this year, most people watching them in the comfort of their own homes will be tuning in to watch basketball, gymnastics, swimming, and track and field.
Of course, there are other popular sports. As the Olympics have evolved over the years, however, its organizers have added and subtracted sports that were considerably less resonant among fans. Even baseball got the ax this time around, but America's national pastime is still more popular than some of the events that have been cut by organizers in the past.
The modern Olympic Games were launched in Athens, Greece, in 1896. The competitors were not famous professional athletes like LeBron James but, basically, whoever signed up. Instead of the most grizzled, well-trained athletes, there was a collection of people from all over the world who wanted to represent their countries.
The quirkiest event was possibly tug-of-war, the same game many of today's athletes probably played when they were in first grade. According to 11Points.com, this event was an Olympic sport in 1900, 1904, 1908, 1912, and 1920.
In 1904, the tug-of-war winner was a legitimate tug-of-war team from the Milwaukee Athletic Club. The gold medal in the following Olympics was awarded to a team consisting of London police officers. Each team had eight members, and the winner was the team that was able to pull the rope six feet in its direction.
In the three Olympic Games between 1984 and 1992, solo synchronized swimming was on the schedule. Instead of an aquatic dance routine with teammates, swimmers were judged on how well their movements were synchronized with music. It shouldn't be a surprise that this event sank like a stone.
Maybe the oddest year for the Olympics was 1900 when the games were held in Paris. They coincided with Paris' hosting of the World's Fair.
A trial event that year that (surprisingly) didn't make it to 1904 was firefighting. According to How Stuff Works, there wasn't much documentation of the event, but buildings in Paris were set ablaze and medals were awarded to the firefighters who extinguished the flames the fastest. There were two divisions: The best team of volunteers came from Portugal, while the best team of professionals came from Kansas City.
Also in 1900, a man named Avril Lafoule was awarded the gold medal in the poodle-clipping event, also a trial competition. He was able to trim 17 dogs in 2 hours, more than any of his 127 competitors and in front of a crowd numbered 6,000.
Those Paris Olympic Games also featured delivery-van driving and live-pigeon shooting: More than 300 of the birds bought the farm in a "ridiculous mix of blood and feathers."
Meanwhile, the French dominated the hot-air ballooning category, which was judged based on distance, duration, elevation, and targeted stopping.
With Ryan Lochte's early gold medal and the U.S. basketball teams appearing poised to dominate, these Olympic Games look like they'll be full of action.
Even if there's no tug-of-war.