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5 Sports You’d Never Have Thought Were Real

by Sarah Campbell October 10, 2015


Shin Kicking - originating in the 1600s in Gloucestershire, this sport was practiced in the Costwold “Olimpick” Games. It is played exactly how it sounds - there are two players and each opponent attempts to kick the other’s shins until one collapses. Until the mid 1800s, contestants were allowed to wear steel-toed boots - practicing for the event involved ‘hardening’ your shins with a hammer. When it was revived in the 1950s, shin kicking required soft toed shoes and the players were allowed to stuff hay up the legs of their pants, preventing any serious injuries.
Underwater Hockey - Teams of six compete in this novelty sport. Players free-dive to the bottom of the pool and use small sticks to probe the puck into the opposing team’s net. Penalties can be appointed during the 15 minute rounds and various advantages given to the opposing team - anything from getting a timed 3 metre radius with the puck or a penalty shot. Spectating this sport is difficult and can only efficiently be done by the use of underwater cameras and live streaming broadcasts.
Wife Carrying - This is a Finnish competitive sport in which a man must carry his wife through a small obstacle course - the man who finishes first is the winner. Some of the World Championship rules include:

  • The wife must weigh at least 49 kg
  • The wife may be your own, the neighbour’s, or you may have found her further afield
  • All participants must enjoy themselves
Chess Boxing - In this extreme sport, players alternate between rounds of chess and rounds of boxing - 6 of the former and 5 of the latter. 3 minute rounds of chess are digitally recorded in between rounds and set up again after 3 minutes of boxing.The winner is crowned most often through a knockout, but can also triumph through checkmate. Canadian filmmaker David Bitton created a documentary about the sport entitled “Chessboxing: The King’s Discipline”.

Extreme Ironing - According to the Extreme Ironing Bureau, this sport is “the latest danger sport that combines the thrills of an extreme outdoor activity with the satisfaction of a well-pressed shirt”. Previous record holders ironed whilst doing some of the following: Bungee jumping, running a half marathon, surfing, and one group of 173 divers ironed underwater in 2011. The sport has gained international recognition and has had a short film featured on National Geographic.
Sarah Campbell
Sarah Campbell

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