Up in the air they flew – 8,000 pigeons released into the piercing blue sky, free as a….um….bird.
Many remember the Summer Games in 1964 for the moment pigeons filled the National Stadium during the Opening Ceremony. Not many remember the Summer Games in 1900 for the moment when pigeons were blown out of the sky.
Hard as it may be to believe, pigeon shooting was an Olympic sport at the Games in Paris 115 years ago. The Olympian would stand at the ready with a rifle when pigeons were released in front of him. About 300 pigeons were shot down dead in what must have been a grisly messy event. The gold medalist was Leon de Lunden of Belgian with 21 kills. The silver and bronze medalists shot down 20 and 18 respectively, as part of a total 300 birds killed.
Pigeon shooting was replaced by clay pigeon shooting at the 1904 Games in St Louis, Missouri.
Clay Pigeons is also the name of my favorite Blaze Foley song.
No animals were harmed in the writing of this blog post.