The sports world is intriguing. Full of surprises. Sportspersons accomplish feats beyond imagination. Stars display awe-inspiring skills. In competitions, there are shockers and upsets. There are records, accolades, and humiliating performances – all part of the game. Records are created and records are smashed. Champions stretch their strength to the limits beyond a human body would tolerate in general.
Beyond this, there are competitions which will defy or stretch the definition of a sport – the weird sports competitions. Insidesport.co compiles for its readers five of world’s most weird competitions, which for their competitive nature may still be considered a sport.
Lingerie Football League
The league caught the headlines during its rising popularity for being sexist and promoting nudity. The league was founded in 2003 showcasing women’s 7-on-7 tackle American football where athletes bare all with just lingerie set and protective equipments. The league was rebranded to Legends Football league in 2013.
The league comprises 16 teams for USA (8), Canada (4) and Australia (4). Games are played in the spring and summer at NBA, NFL, NHL and MLS arenas and stadiums. The concept of the league originated from an alternative Super Bowl halftime television special called the Lingerie Bowl, a pay-per-view event broadcast opposite the Super Bowl halftime show.
The league, amidst controversies in 2013, announced that the athletes would wear “performance apparel” instead of lingerie, the uniform which looks very much the same as before. Other changes include eliminating images of sexy women from team logos and changing the league tagline from “True Fantasy Football” to “Women of the Gridiron”. The league last year was broadcast live by Eleven Sports.
Major League Eating
Being a serious contender in one of these events would mean eating nearly 50 slices of pizza or 11 quarter-pound burgers in 10 minutes. The league features players with nicknames like “Megatoad”, “The locust”, “Notorious B.O.B.”, who chug down massive quantities of foods in a couple of minutes.
MLE, founded as International Federation of Competitive Eating Inc. (IFOCE) in 1997, organizes, supervises, sanctions and regulates competitive eating contests across the globe. Top MLE events include the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, La Costena “Feel the Heat” Jalapeño Eating Challenge, the Krystal Square Off World Hamburger Eating Championship and the National Buffalo Wing Festival. The IFOCE was founded in 1997 by brothers George and Richard Shea.
The league airs its annual Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest on ESPN. The ESPN2 telecast of the 2014 Nathan’s event generated a 1.6 rating and 2.8 million viewers, making it the most-watched telecast in the contest’s history. The ESPN2 airing also ranks as the 6th highest-rated and 5th most-watched telecast of the year on ESPN2, behind NCAA Football, NBA, and World Cup.
Past event and broadcast sponsors include Procter & Gamble (Pepto-Bismol), Pizza Hut, Krystal Hamburgers, Heinz Ketchup, Old Navy, Netflix, Coca-Cola, 7-Eleven, ESPN, Jimmy John’s, La Costena, Harrah’s Entertainment, Isle of Capri Casinos, Cedar Fair Entertainment, Johnsonville Sausage and Roy Rogers.
US Lawn Mower Racing
The bizarre Lawn Mover Races are organized by Chicago-based U.S. Lawnmower Racing Association (USLMRA, letsMOW.com). The governing body for lawnmower racing in the United State, founded by Bruce Kaufman, has celebrated their 25th anniversary last year. The history of lawn mower racing dates back to 1970s. The idea of USLMRA was initiated by a fuel stabilizer brand STA-BIL in 1992.
The athletes race in a modified lawn mower machine with cutting blades removed, making it look like a small Go-karting type machines. Some of the fastest modified mowers can reach 85 mph (60 mph on a track). Strangely, the USLMRA pays its winners mostly with food, rather than money.
The organizing body, since its inception, has spread to over 40 states and has frequently caught the attention of the Discovery Channel, ESPN and The New York Times.
Wife Carrying Championship
Some men complain about getting their wives off their backs — but not in this sport. Originating in Sonkajarvi, Finland, wife carrying is a sport in which male competitors race to carry their wives through an obstacle course. At the annual North American Wife Carrying Championship, winners receive the traditional prize of the wife’s weight in beer, five times her weight in cash and an entry into the World Championship in Finland.
Wife carrying is based on husband-and-wife teams racing with the husband carrying the wife through a regulation length obstacle course featuring log hurdles, sand traps, and the always popular “widow maker” water hazard.
Chess boxing is a hybrid fighting sport (or a hybrid board game) that combines two traditional pastimes: chess, a mind game, and boxing, a combat sport. The game is a 11 alternate rounds battle of chess and boxing. Invented by Dutch performance artist Iepe Rubingh, the sport was initially only thought to be an art performance but quickly turned into a fully developed competitive sport. Chessboxing is particularly popular in Germany, the United Kingdom, India, and Russia.
In 2011, the WCBO and with it the global chessboxing community made the biggest leap forward in its development to date with the foundation of the Chessboxing Organisation of India and its expansion in Asia, including also Chessboxing China and the Chessboxing Organisation of Iran which were founded in 2012. Furthermore, the third chessboxing organisation in the United States, USA Chessboxing, was founded in 2011 and the European movement was being reinforced by the foundation of the Italian Chessboxing Federation in 2012.