Sunday, April 25, 2010

Alanna looks into the Bizzaro World of International Sports

By Alanna Medearis - winner of the Sportacus March Madness Contest:

The word “sports” generally conjures images of Aaron Rodgers throwing a touchdown, LeBron James hitting a game winning 3-pointer or Albert Pujols slamming a ninth inning homerun. Chasing cheese down a treacherously steep hill, snorkeling through smelly, murky water and battling camels certainly does not fit into our American view of commercialized sports, yet these are some popular, albeit downright bizarre, sports in other countries.

Here a list of the top 5 weirdest, most bizarre sports worldwide. Some sound like a blast while others just sound…well uncomfortable. Read on and enjoy!

1. Chess Boxing (Finland) – How do you make a sport that is both intellectually and physically exhausting? Combine boxing with chess, then add in an excessive number of rounds and you have the sport where "fighting is done in the ring and wars are waged on the board" (the motto of the World Chess Organisation). Chessboxers battle through alternating four-minute long rounds of chess and three-minute boxing rounds, for a maximum of six rounds of chess and five rounds of boxing. Chess Boxing is indeed Finland’s solution for the modern day renaissance man.

2. Cheese Rolling (England) - Steeped rich in history (at least 200 years according to some sources) this sport is just as crazy as it sounds. Basically, every year worldwide participants flock to Gloucester, England to chase a large wheel of cheese down a steep hill. Whoever catches the cheese wins the cheese and the bragging rights. While this sounds like the stuff of dreams to any Wisconsinite, beware – the hill is dangerous and each year dozens of contestants suffer broken limbs, concussions and other injuries!

3. Camel Wrestling (Turkey) – A far more amusing, less violent form of Cockfighting, male camels chosen to wrestle are lured by a female camel in heat and forced to fight another camel. Wrestling camels are placed into weight classes and are taught tricks to trip the other camel, causing it to scream, retreat or fall. An annual championship is held every year and draws thousands of spectators from the entire Aegean region of Turkey.

4. Unicycle Hockey (International) – Ice Skates are for sissies—real men play hockey on unicycles! Unicycle Hockey follows the same rules as ice hockey, but while balancing on a unicycle. The sport has been around for more than 25 years, with national leagues in several countries.

5. Bog Snorkeling (Wales) – Nothing satisfies a thirst for the great outdoors quite like a brisk swim…through muddy, putrid water? For more than 20 years, Llanwrtd Wells, a small provincial town in Wales, has hosted the popular World Bog Snorkeling Championship. Competitors don flippers and snorkels and doggy-paddle (no recognized swimming strokes are allowed) two lengths of a 60-yard trench in a peat bog. Despite the prize being only $100, last year nearly 200 snorkelers competed in this smelly, suffocating race.

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