Fast Facts: Motor boating at the Olympics

LONDON — Many sporting events have come and gone from Olympic lore – baseball and softball, for example, were once short-lived competitions during the Summer Games. Did you know motor boating once made an appearance in the quadrennial event?

The event was officially listed as “water motorsports” during the 1908 Summer Games in London and consisted of three events – 60-foot race, 8-meter race and Open Class.

Few details are available on the official Olympics website, but two countries won the competitions: Great Britain and France.

France claimed gold in the “Open Class A – Men’s” competition, while the sailing tandem of Bernard Redwood and Thomas Thornycroft finished first place for the British in the 60-foot and 8-meter races.

The website noted two Great Britain challengers did not finish the Open Class A – Men’s competition, allowing France to be the sole medalist.

Redwood and Thornycroft also earned gold in their respective events due to a lack of any other competitor crossing the finish line.

The motor boating competitions were all held in Southampton, Great Britain, Aug. 28-29, 1908.

Water motorsports was not an Olympic event at the next competition in Stockholm, Norway – though equestrian dressage and tug-of-war were official sports during the 1912 Games.

Rowing and sailing, interestingly enough, were also Olympic events in 1908 and 1912.


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