The next oldest race is the Greyhound Race that dates from 1621. Here the artificial hare is chased around three laps of the track by greyhounds dressed in monk’s costumes. The hare wears a Papal Crown and carries a Papal Staff. Again this is a toned-down version of the original where a real hare, wearing a mitre, was hunted to death by greyhounds. Nowadays, the winning greyhound and owner receive a kennel for the dog that is modelled on the Pope’s Palace at Avignon. A greyhound named Luther has won the race the most times with seven wins in the period 1898 – 1905.
Dating from 1645 the oldest athletics event is the Papal shot-put where contestants have to land their throws in a Papal mitre that is placed 15 meters and 17 centimeters from the rim of the shot-put circle. Each contestant is allowed six attempts at this accuracy contest and the winner is the person who lands their put in the hat the most times. Hugo Benjamin Draxler won the event thirteen times between 1794 and 1831. Draxler has been an important figure in the Games as he also lobbied the organizers to introduce a spear throwing contest where the aim and the rules were literally the same as those of the shot-put contest. After the success of the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris both a discus and a hammer contest were introduced in 1925 with the Papal Mitre situated 60 meters and 68 centimeters from the throwing circle. No one has ever won the Discus event and the Hammer event has been won just once in 1958 by the Soviet Anatoli Timofftichuk.
The following is a review from my book Sports the Olympics Forgot, which can be found on Amazon here
Mr. Worker clearly had an enjoyable time researching and writing this book. I wasn’t sure what to think of the book until I got to the bit about Docky and started to really chuckle. The Anti-Pope Games also left a distinct impression in my memory. While there may only be a niche market for this book, if you’ve ever wondered about the sport of Mongol Vegetable Cutting, the Andalusia Hopping Race or Bull Pulling, look no further than this definitive work.
The Papal Bullfighting Contest has taken place since 1523 and is the oldest sport featured at the Anti-Pope Games. The bullfighters, dressed in a monk’s outfit similar to that of Martin Luther, have to place a copy of The Ninety-Five Theses, written by Luther, over each of the horns of the bull. They also have to knock off the Papal Tiara, a jewelled, three-tiered crown used at Papal coronations from 1305 through 1963, that is fixed to the head of the bull. The person who performs these tasks in the quickest time wins the prize of a set of steak knives that are embedded in a wooden block shaped like a Papal Mitre. This is a toned-down version of the original first prize, which was a blood-coloured Papal Mitre stabbed through with a dagger.