Cotswold Olimpicks – Warwickshire, England - Atlas Obscura

Cotswold Olimpicks

Robert Dover's traditional games. 


In 1612, almost 300 years before the modern Olympics we know today, Robert Dover started what have come to be known as the Cotswold Olimpicks (or to some, the Cotswold Games) in Chipping Campden, England. The games, made to honor the ancient games in Olympia, Greece, were organized during the reign of James I of England. Locals took part in contests such as shin-kicking, wrestling, and sack races atop a local hill soon to be known as Dover Hill.

The games stood the test of time, continuing during periods of war and disease, and are still played today on the same hill. This game is for the locals - both young and old - and by the locals. The shin-kicking contest, what is considered the oldest and most traditional part of the games, still lives on today. Many other games such as a marathon, tug’o’war and bizarre mix of local rural sports are featured at the Cotswold Olympics. At the end of the games, someone is crowned Champion of the Hill. The night does not end here. Following the games, a firework display lights up the sky before the town retreats to the Chipping Campden Square for dancing and music.

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