The 2020 Summer Olympics are finally here, a year late and without fans, but taking place just the same.

Some of the events are classics, like track and field, wrestling and swimming.

There are some new ones, too, like karate, skateboarding and surfing.

And along the way, some older events have stopped being held, like painting.


From the 1910s to the 1940s, there were artistic competitions along with athletic ones.

There were medals for painting, sculpture, even literature and music, though onetime Olympic judge Igor Stravinsky gave out no medals in the 1924 Games.

One Olympian, Walter Winans, won gold medals in sculpture and in shooting.

Speaking of shooting, cannon shooting was a demonstration sport in the 1900 Olympics.

And at the 1924 Winter Games, Switzerland took home a gold medal for “military patrol,” which included skiing and target shooting in uniform, a kind of forerunner to the modern biathlon.

Mental Floss wrote once about how, in the 20s and 30s, Olympians even took home medals for making medals.

There don’t appear to be many, maybe any, calls for the games to bring back the artistic events.

But hey, if you want to see which of today’s painters might set a world record, maybe today’s a day to make your voice heard.

If you’re thinking about hitting the golf course or even the driving range this weekend, check the weather first.

Earlier this month Tomas Gomez was hitting some golf balls with friends when a storm started to come together.

A video shows Gomez hitting a ball, which is then struck by lightning.

Though, honestly, better the ball than him!

Painting for Gold Medals: When Art Was an Olympic Discipline (Artnet)

Switzerland land military patrol gold (

Olympic Games Medallists – Other Sports (

When the Olympics Gave Out Medals for Making Medals (Mental Floss)

One in a million? Teen’s golf ball struck by lightning at Topgolf venue in Texas (Golf Week)

We’d give gold medals to all our Patreon backers if we were the Olympics

Photo by Naval History and Heritage Command from Washington, DC, USA – 2000-158-19 Medal, Olympics, 1920, Antwerp, Gold, Obverse, CC BY 2.0, via Wikicommons