Olympic dueling

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Dueling at the 1908 Olympics involved wax bullets and elaborate protection 1908 Olympics wax duel field.png
Dueling at the 1908 Olympics involved wax bullets and elaborate protection

Pistol duelling was a sport at the 1906 Intercalated Games and 1908 Olympics.

In the 1906 Intercalated Games, male competitors fired duelling pistols at plaster dummies from 20m and 30m. [1]

In 1908 pistol duelling was demonstrated as part of the concurrent Franco-British Exhibition, using the Olympic fencing arena and in front of invited guests. [2] There were no official demonstration sports until 1912. The competition involved two male competitors firing at each other with duelling pistols loaded with wax bullets and wearing protective equipment for the torso, face, and hands. [1] [3] Teams were sent by countries including France, the UK and the USA. The 20 meter competition was won by the French team of Major Ferrus, J Marais and J Rouvcanachi. [4]

1906 medal summary

20 m duelling pistolFlag of France.svg  Léon Moreaux  (FRA)Flag of Italy.svg  Cesare Liverziani  (ITA)Flag of France.svg  Maurice Lecoq  (FRA)
30 m duelling pistolFlag of Greece.svg  Konstantinos Skarlatos  (GRE)Flag of Sweden.svg  Johan Hübner von Holst  (SWE)Flag of Sweden.svg  Vilhelm Carlberg  (SWE)

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Pistol duelling was a competitive sport developed around 1900 which involved opponents shooting at each other using duelling pistols adapted to fire wax bullets. The sport was briefly popular among some members of the metropolitan upper classes in the US, UK and France. Although the bullets were made of soft wax they could inflict significant damage to exposed flesh. For this reason the competitors wore heavy protective clothing and guards. The sport was demonstrated at the 1908 Olympic Games but did not survive the First World War. It may be seen as a precursor of the modern sport of paintballing.


  1. 1 2 Jonathan Gottschall (15 March 2016). The Professor in the Cage: Why Men Fight and Why We Like to Watch. Penguin Publishing Group. pp. 42–. ISBN   978-0-14-310805-4.
  2. https://royalarmouries.org/stories/our-collection/bloodless-duelling-at-the-olympics/
  3. Nigel McCrery (19 October 2016). The Extinguished Flame: Olympians Killed in The Great War. Pen and Sword. pp. 274–. ISBN   978-1-4738-7801-3.
  4. https://royalarmouries.org/stories/our-collection/bloodless-duelling-at-the-olympics/