(CNN) – With the world gearing up for the 2012 London Olympics, CNN Contributor Bob Greene says the decision to let professional athletes compete revolutionized the event.
[0:49] "In the late 1980s the IOC moved toward making the most momentous decision in it's history: It would allow professional athletes in the Olympics. And the fans, far from being outraged at the change, yawned. It was considered no big deal. If the best athletes were paid for their skills? Why not?"
[1:44] "When the Dream Team of U.S. National Basketball Association players went to the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, they knew they were going to win - and they did, by an average of almost 44 points a game. The problem with professional Dream Teams is that they're overdogs, not underdogs."
Read more of Bob Greene's columns at CNN Opinion.FULL STORY
By Matt Cherry, CNN
(CNN) – British policemen once dominated "Tug of War" and won Olympic gold in the 1908 London games. But don't expect a repeat during this year's London games which begin on Friday. The rope sport was part of five Olympics until it was cut in 1920 in an effort to reduce the number of team sports.
[:34] “Dedication and mental toughness, knowing that you just have to hang on that bit longer in order to beat somebody else, it’s not a sport for everybody,” says Glenn Johnson who heads the "Tug of War" International Federation.
Other obscure sports once had Olympic glory including an activity that includes a horse pulling a skier who jumps over ramps at high speeds. It’s called Ski Joring.
[1:57] “There is nothing like it, the acceleration, you get out of the start, the speed that you’re going and just the grace and beauty of the horses," says Geoffrey Smith with the North American Ski Joring Association.
Ski Joring made its one and only appearance in the 1928 Olympics in St. Moritz, Switzerland.
The 1904 Olympics in St. Louis featured an event with only four competitors and all of them from the United States: it’s called Rogue:
[2:26] “It’s a derivation of croquet in that it is played on a hard surface,” says Chris Bullock for Stuart, Florida, who built a Rogue course in his backyard.