With the Olympic Games only days away, it’s time to look at five of the world’s strangest sports which sadly will not be making an appearance at the 2012 London Olympics.
We start in host nation Great Britain for Cheese Rolling which takes place in Gloucestershire in Western England. The event involves chasing after a 3-4 kilo wheel of Double Gloucester cheese down the 230 meter Cooper’s Hill which has inclines of up to 70 degrees.
The cheese speeds down the hill at close to 110km/hour, chased by up to 20 individuals. It should come as no surprise that ambulance crews are often required to deal with a variety of injuries.
While Afghanistan will be sending a team of six to the Olympics, none will compete in their country’s national sport of Buzkashi.
In this odd sport, two teams compete on horseback. This is where the similarities to traditional sports like polo end. Instead of trying to hit a ball, the competitors chase after the headless carcass of a goat. The object of the game is to pick up the carcass and bring it across a goal line or into the winner’s circle. Opponents can punch each other in the face, kick each other, and, if playing near a river, they may even try to drown their opponent.
Buzkashi can last for a number of days.
More than any other sport, Chess Boxing demands both brain and brawn. A match consists of up to eleven alternating rounds of boxing and chess, with four minutes of chess followed by a three minute round of boxing. There is only a minute’s break in between rounds.
Competitors must have taken part in at least 20 boxing matches and be rated at least Class A quality in chess.
Victory is achieved either by knockout or checkmate. If the chess match reaches stalemate and the boxing match is tied, the player with the black pieces wins!
The Finns may be regarded as being quiet, but it hasn’t stopped them from coming up with some strange sports. One such sport is Wife Carrying, which originated in the late 19th Century.
The team is obviously made up of man and wife. The woman must weigh no less than 49 kilos and be over 17 years old. The track is 253.5 metres with two dry obstacles and a one meter deep water obstacle.
The rules stipulate that the carrier can wear a belt and the carried must wear a helmet. As in any sport, it is most important that all competitors enjoy themselves.
As the popularity of the sport has increased, so have the variations of how to carry the wife. In Finland, she will normally be carried piggyback or via a fireman’s carry, while in the Estonian style, the wife hangs upside-down with her legs around the husband’s shoulders, holding onto his waist. Personally, I prefer the Estonian style
Mental sports and electronic sports, while not regarded as traditional sports, are nevertheless still sports. Consider that Google defines sport as “An activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others.” One would be hard-pressed to argue that sitting for days at the World Series of Poker’s main event doesn’t qualify as physical as well as mental exertion. So for our final strange sport we look at Gambling.
Competitors can gamble on a wide range of games like poker, bingo, and Intercasino blackjack. What sets gamblers apart from competitors in any other sport in terms of strangeness are the superstitions that they follow almost religiously.
Whether people prefer to gamble in an online casino or at a land-based casino, most believe that a winning streak can be started or stopped by adhering to specific superstitious beliefs regardless of the outcome. Asian gamblers, particularly the Chinese, are more superstitious than their western counterparts. Gambling is an honoured tradition in this area, and superstitions are an integral part of this tradition.
What Did I Miss?
I’d love to hear if you know of any other truly strange competitions. Please let me know in the comments so I can incorporate them into my personal lexicon of useless information in the future