Croquet originated from a French game called paille-maille in the 16th and 17th centuries. It became popular in Britain as pall-mall during the reign of Charles II. Croquet was included in the Olympics once in 1900, with only French participants. Other strange events like tug-of-war and pigeon shooting were also briefly included.
Croquet is thought to trace its origins to the 16th and 17th centuries, to a French lawn game called paille-maille, derived from the Latin terms for “ball” and “mallet.” This French form of floor billiards became popular as a “pall-mall” in 17th-century Britain, during the reign of Charles II. The leisurely lawn game has had aficionados ever since, and croquet has even been included in the Olympics, but only once. During the 16 Summer Games in Paris, only seven men and three women competed, and all represented France. An Englishman was the only person who bought a ticket to see the events.
The Weird and Wonderful World of Olympic Sports:
Two female croquet players – identified as Madame Brohy and Mademoiselle Ohnier – became the first women to compete in the modern Olympic Games.
Several other strange activities have become Olympic events, if only for a short time. An eight-man tug-of-war was also introduced at the Paris Games in 1900, but was dropped after the 1920 Antwerp Games.
A variant of clay pigeon shooting was also held at the Paris Games. Instead of clay pigeons, the participants shot real pigeons. More than 300 birds were killed during the event.