Tracing the modern Olympics back to their origin in rural England, where there was a very different set of competitive events:

“Ah, but in Much Wenlock, the Olympic spirit thrived, year after year—as it does to this day. Penny Brookes had first scheduled the games on October 22, 1850, in an effort ‘to promote the moral, physical and intellectual improvement of the inhabitants’ of Wenlock. However, notwithstanding this high-minded purpose, and unlike the sanctimonious claptrap that suffocates the Games today, Penny Brookes also knew how to put a smile on the Olympic face. His annual Much Wenlock games had the breezy ambience of a medieval county fair. The parade to the ‘Olympian Fields’ began, appropriately, at the two taverns in town, accompanied by heralds and bands, with children singing, gaily tossing flower petals. The winners were crowned with laurel wreaths, laid on by the begowned fairest of Much Wenlock’s fair maids. Besides the classic Greek fare, the competitions themselves tended to the eclectic. One year there was a blindfolded wheelbarrow race, another offered ‘an old woman’s race for a pound of tea’ and on yet another occasion there was a pig chase, with the intrepid swine squealing past the town’s limestone cottages until cornered ‘in the cellar of Mr. Blakeway’s house.’”