What Is the History Behind the Marco Polo Swimming Game?

The Marco Polo swimming game originated in the 1960s, but its history is unknown. The game itself is named after an Italian explorer in the 13th and 14th centuries who traveled to China with his father and uncle. When he returned to Italy and told of his travels, he inspired others to venture East pursuing wealth.

The Marco Polo game is a game of tag played in a swimming pool. One player is blindfolded while shouting "Marco." The other players respond by shouting "Polo," and the blindfolded individual has to find one of the other players using his sense of sound and touch. The object of the game is not to get caught by "Marco."

Polo's story was told by a 13th century author who Polo met in prison. Polo recounted his stories to the author, who hand wrote them as they were told. Polo had many stories of his adventures in the court of Mongol emperor Kublai Khan.

Polo did not discover America, but it is believed that he motivated Christopher Columbus to travel to America. He supposedly brought the written story of Polo with him on his journey to the Americas, albeit 2 centuries after Polo traveled to China.