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International Tug-of-War Day

International Tug-of-War Day celebrates tug of war, a game where two teams compete, trying to pull a rope so that a center marker comes to their team's side. Sometimes a puddle of mud or pool of water is put in the middle, so that the losing team will be pulled into it. Usually each team has eight members, although other numbers are possible. At times it has even been a two person sport, and in Taiwan in 1997, there were 1,600 participants in one game.

Tug of war was played in ancient Egypt, Greece, China, and India. It originated in ancient ceremonies, and then came to be used to train warriors, entertain kings, and settle disputes. Sometimes it was used as a game to train for others sports. In some circumstances, a wooden stake has been used instead of a rope.

Over 50 countries have formal national tug of war organizations; there are tug of war clubs, and outdoor and indoor competitions. Tug of war was an Olympic sport from 1900 until 1920, when a decision was made to have less participants in the Olympic games, and the sport was cancelled. The Tug of War International Federation was created in 1960 out of a need for international competition, and shortly thereafter, a competition was held in Sweden. In 1965, the first European Championships began being held in England, and continued until 1975, when countries outside of Europe joined to create the first World Championships, held in the Netherlands. Today, World Championships are held every other year, with European Championships in the intervening years. In 1999, the Tug of War International Federation received provisional recognition from the International Olympic Committee, and in 2002, they received formal recognition. As of late there has been a push to bring tug of war back into the summer Olympics.

How to Observe International Tug-of-War Day

Celebrate the day by getting some friends together and playing tug of war! Make sure to read over the rules before getting started.

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