Silly Olympics - Rules/Instructions


Running the Evening

The Goofy Olympics can become one of your most successful annual events. It requires quite a bit of preparation up front, and lots of equipment, but is really worth the effort.

  1. The best method I have found to run the evening is to choose 3 combined events and at least 4 separate events.

  2. Start by breaking the youth group into as many groups as you have separate events (some separate events, like discus and javelin, and the match events, can be combined).

  3. Begin with a combined event (recommend string eating). Thereafter, send each of the groups to a different "station", where a leader will be on hand to take them through an event. Give them at least 15 minutes at each event. After the alloted time period, get them to move to the next event, in rotation. The leaders at each event will stay the same, and must have a scoresheet where they record people's names and the top scores for the event. (P.S. This is also a great way to find out people's names - you know, when you know they think you know, and you know you should know, but you don't know, and you know you're embarrased to ask them their name again...).
  4. Once they are half way through the events, bring them together for another combined event (recommend the food events - eating biscuits, downing coke, marshmallows). Then go back to the separate events. Finish with a combined event (recommend another of the food events).

  5. If you have more time, I have found it a good idea to leave one rotation at the end where people can go back to their favourite event, and try to break the existing record.

  6. Follow the events with a talk, preferably by a Christian athlete, while the judges get the score cards from the individual stations, and write out winner's certificates, with the winning distance, time, amount, etc. (Prepare the templates for each event certificate before the start of the evening).

  7. Have an awards ceremony to finish the evening off.

String Eating 5m

The string used is standard packaging string. The string should have a minimum of four strands, and be (in total) a minimum of 1 millimetre thick.

This is a good event to start the evening. Break the group into two equal teams (preferably guys and girls). Have them stand in two rows, opposite a partner. Take the pre-cut 5 metre lengths of string, and give one end to each partner. They put this end in their mouths, and put their hands behind their backs. On your call, they begin to "eat" the string, without the use of their hands. The winning couple is the first to touch lips.

Make sure that you have a bin or bag handy for the people to spit the string into at the end. It's pretty gross when its all chewed up!

Eat 3 Marie Biscuits and Whistle 3 Notes

Marie biscuits are round, flat, "butter" biscuits, about 4mm thick and 6.5 centimetres in diameter. When soggy they tend to stick to your mouth.

This is a good combined event, where everybody participates, or you call for volunteers. Get the people to stand in a row, and give each of them three marie biscuits. On your command, they must eat all three, and the winner will be the first person to be able to whistle three different and distinct notes, without a flurry of biscuits coming out as well.

You will need a few judges here. When a person is ready to attmpt to whistle, they must summon a judge, who will listen. The time is the time from beginning to the end of the third note

Down a Can of Coke

Sorry to all those Pepsi, Cola, etc, fans, but there just isn't anything like a can of Coca Cola. The cans are 350ml, and are not punctured in any way. The cans are opened by the contestants just before the command to begin drinking.

This is another good combined event, either for everyone (if your budget can handle it), or for volunteers. The contestants stand in a row, and each is given a can. On your command they open the cans. On your next command they begin to drink. When finished drinking, they must place the can upside down on their head, to prove that there isn't anything left inside.

Watch for the funniest sight in youth ministry - Coke coming out through the nose of a contestant!!

Marshmallows in Mouth (without swallowing or chewing)

It is virtually impossible to standardise marshmallows, since hardness cannot be measured easily. But the best marshmallows are not "fluffy and light" nor are they bricks. Try to get marshmallows about 4cm long and 2.5cm wide (tubular).

This is a great combined event, and an old favourite. Just be warned that choking is a side effect of stuffing things into your mouth. Begin each contestant with 5 marshmallows.

Seated "Chair"Against the Wall

This is an event for the real he-men in your youth group. There is no equipment required, except a blank patch of smooth wall.

Line up against the wall, with your backs right against the wall. Slowly move down the wall, "walking" your feet out, until you are in a sitting position - i.e. your thighs are parallel to the floor, and your kness are at a 90 degree angle. Your back should still against the wall. Your hands should be on your thighs or knees. The winner is the last person who can remain in this position

Disqualification occurs when you lift a foot off the ground; when you touch the wall or floor with your hands; when you touch the floow with any part of your body other than your feet; when you move your back off of the wall completely, or when you scream out in pain and fall into a heap of muscle spasms.

Push a matchbox across a carpeted floor

You need an empty matchbox for each person and a hall (preferably carpeted). The matchbox must be empty, and is 5.2cm x 3.7cm x 1.6cm. In the hall, measure out a 20m track, which is as straight as possible. If your hall is less than 20m long, then go up one wall and along the adjacent wall - do not have more than a 90 degree turn in your track.

Contestants line up at the start, with their hands on the floor, and their noses on a matchbox which is on the floor. On your command they push the matchbox with their nose to the finish line. They are disqualified if they touch the box with anything other than their nose.

Holding Lit Match

Use a standard Lion match, 4.3cm long and 2mm square all round. Ensure that no-one tampers with the head of the match, which should be about 5mm long. This event should be held in an area that can take lit matches being dropped, that is fairly well ventilated, but has no draughts.

Each contestant lights a match and holds it as long as they can. When they drop it, or when the match goes out, their time is recorded.

Lighting Candles with One Match

For this event, use nice long candles, set up in candle holders. Use standard Lion matches, 4.3cm long and 2mm square all round.

Each contestant gets a pile of matches and a candle. Light one match. Light the candle with that match. Blow the candle out, but not the match. Relight the candle with that match. Blow the candle out again. Relight it, etc, etc. Count how many times you can light the candle with the one match. If the match goes out, it can be relit from the candle, as long as the candle is still alight. If both match and candle are out - so are you!

Be careful of match tampering - especially putting wax on burnt out matches. This is not allowed!

Paper Plate Frisbee Discus (outdoor)

The paper plates used in this event, are standard paper plates, preferably without the laminated or plastic coating. They are cardboard, with crinkled edges, round and about 25cm in diameter.

Contestants stand with ther feet behind a line. They flip, throw, spin, toss the plates across an open space. The distance measured is where the plate ENDS UP (not necessarily where it lands) to the throwing line. Plates cannot be torn, bent, folded or changed in any other way.

Plastic straw Javelin

Plastic straws, about 25cm in length, and 4mm in diameter are used. Try to find ones that don't have that bendy bit in the middle.

Contestants stand with their feet behind a line. They flip, throw, spin, toss the straws across an open space. The distance measured is where the straw ENDS UP (not necessarily where it lands) to the throwing line. Straws cannot be torn, bent, folded or changed in any other way. Note especially that nothing can be put inside the straw before it is thrown.

Put the Peanut

Spit a peanut as far as you can. One peanut at a time. Shot Put rules apply for the feet - ie. no stepping over the line.

Cotton Wool Ball Shotput

This is a new event, so if you do it, please tell me the size of the coton wool ball.

Contestants stand with their feet behind a line. They flip, throw, spin, toss the cotton wool balls across an open space. The distance measured is where the ball ENDS UP (not necessarily where it lands) to the throwing line. Cotton Wool balls cannot be torn, bent, folded or changed in any other way, and cannot have anything added to them, especially not water or any other liquid.

Coin Catching

For South Africans, use old 2c or new 5c coins for this event. These coins are 2.1 cm in diameter, and 1.5mm thick.

Take your hand, and place it palm upwards on your shoulder. Your elbow should now be pointing out in front of you. Take a pile of these coins and place them on the end of your elbow (you will find a nice flat spot there). Now pull your elbow down quickly and your hand over the top and grab the coins in your hand. Count the number of coins you managed to catch - this is your score.

Note that the coins can be piled in more than one pile on your elbow. Do this event in front of a wall, and move all furniture away, as coins go all over the place.

House of Cards

Use a number of packs of standard playing cards. Try to get the laminated ones, that are 9cm long and 6.5cm wide.

On a secure base, build a house of cards, by stacking the cards up. Each completed level of the house (it is complete when it has at least one card flat on the top) is counted. The cards can be put on their ends, or on their sides at each level.

Ski Race

Take two 2x4 pieces of wood six feet long. Nail four pair of shoes (four shoes on each board). Put people in the shoes. On "go" the team must race 20m to a traffic cone (or other marker), make a turn around the cone and come back to the starting line. The course should be a lane 12m wide, 30m long, the cone should be 20m from the start/finish line and in the middle of lane.

Standing Jump

Contestants stand behind a line on the ground. Both feet must be behind the line. Without mving their feet before take off, jump as far forward as possible (i.e. no run up, steps, or any other foot movement before the jump). The distance from the line to the closest point that ANY part of their body touches the ground is the distance jumped.

You may wish to break this age and gender groups to be really fair to everyone.

Shoelace Tying

Indiviiduals sit in chairs with a 24" shoelace on floor under the right or left shoe (depending on the contestant's "handed-ness"). At starting whistle, contestants must tie a knot and bow. When finished then must stand with hands in air, (this stops the timer).

The shoelace placed on the floor under shoe eliminates the need for everyone to wear shoes with laces.

Rowing Regatta

You sit on the floor and put your hands on your knees. You have to propel yourself backwards by moving your feet to your bottom and then pushing yourself backwards. You can use your hands for balance (i.e. if you start overbalancing, you can use a hand to stop yourself falling) but not to move yourself.

This can be done in singles - either against the clock or in a race.

It can also be done in pairs, quads (fours) and eights. When you are in these multiple people races, you must sit very close together, the one at the back must hold the person in front's waist and somehow manage to stay together whilst "rowing".