Tug of war at the 1908 Summer Olympics

At the 1908 Summer Olympics, a tug of war tournament was contested. Each team consisted of 8 athletes. Nations could enter up to 3 teams.[1] The host Great Britain was the only one to enter more than one (entering the maximum of 3 teams). Germany, Greece, Sweden, and the United States each entered one team apiece, though Germany and Greece withdrew. This left 5 teams (40 athletes) from 3 nations to compete.

Men's tug of war
at the Games of the IV Olympiad
VenueWhite City Stadium
DatesJuly 17–18
Competitors40 from 3 nations
1st place, gold medalist(s) City of London Police
 Great Britain
2nd place, silver medalist(s) Liverpool Police
 Great Britain
3rd place, bronze medalist(s) Metropolitan Police "K" Division
 Great Britain
← 1904
1912 →

Medal tableEdit

Position Country Gold Silver Bronze Total
1   Great Britain 1 1 1 3
  Sweden 0 0 0 0
  United States 0 0 0 0

Medal summaryEdit

Gold Silver Bronze
City of London Police
  Great Britain
Liverpool Police
  Great Britain
Metropolitan Police "K" Division
  Great Britain

Team rostersEdit

Great BritainEdit

City of London PoliceEdit

Liverpool PoliceEdit

Metropolitan Police "K" DivisionEdit


United StatesEdit



The German and Greek teams withdrew, narrowing the seven-team field to five. Thus, the Swedish team and two of the British squads had byes in the quarterfinals.

The only match held was between the Liverpool team and the Americans. Liverpool won the first pull easily, after which the United States delegation protested against the footwear worn by the Liverpool police, who competed in their service boots. The protest was dismissed, and the Americans withdrew in disgust.[2][3]

Winners Score Losers
Liverpool Police   Great Britain 2-0 (forfeit) United States of America   United States
Sweden   Sweden Bye
City of London Police   Great Britain Bye
Metropolitan Police "K" Division   Great Britain Bye


Liverpool again faced a foreign opponent, and again prevailed. The two London services squared off in the other semifinal, with the City police beating the Metropolitan men in a lengthy first pull. The second pull was not as tight a contest.[2]

Winners Score Losers
Liverpool Police   Great Britain 2-0 Sweden   Sweden
City of London Police   Great Britain 2-0 Metropolitan Police "K" Division   Great Britain


The Londoners defeated Liverpool in the final, winning the first two pulls.

Winners Score Losers
City of London Police   Great Britain 2-0 Liverpool Police   Great Britain

Bronze medal matchEdit

The Swedish team did not appear for the bronze medal match.

Winners Score Losers
Metropolitan Police "K" (Stepney) Division   Great Britain walkover Sweden   Sweden


  1. ^ Official Report, p. 32.
  2. ^ a b Cook, p. 91
  3. ^ City of London Police


  • Cook, Theodore Andrea (1908). The Fourth Olympiad, Being the Official Report. London: British Olympic Association.
  • De Wael, Herman (2001). "Tug-of-War 1908". Herman's Full Olympians. Archived from the original on 26 February 2005. Retrieved 27 May 2006.
  • Rosters