Put On Your Game Face: The 10 Weirdest ‘Sports’ in the World

Posted by Dr. Scott Wilson | 01-Jul-2019

No doubt mainstream sports like hockey and basketball are a ton of fun. But ever watch a wife carrying tournament or a cheese rolling match? In many parts of the world, people actually participate in these things enthusiastically. So check out our list of the 10 weirdest ‘sports’. And we bet your Saturday morning soccer league will look pretty lame by the time you’re done reading! 

Wife Carrying

Most men complain about getting their wives off their backs, but not the guys who play this sport. In countries like Lithuania and Estonia, wife carrying is nothing to joke about. Originating in Sonkajarvi, Finland, this race involves male competitors carrying their wives through an obstacle course. The rules allow several types of carrying, including piggyback, over the shoulder or Estonian-style. What’s Estonian-style you ask? The wife hangs upside-down with her legs around her husband’s shoulders, holding onto his waist!

Serious competitors work their way up to the World Wife Carrying Championship, held annually in Finland. This year, nearly 80 couples will compete on a 253-metre sand track filled with challenges. The course consists of two dry obstacles and a water obstacle about one metre deep. The only equipment allowed is a belt worn by the carrier, and a helmet worn by the carried. The grand prize is always the wife’s weight in beer. 

Cheese Rolling

If you’ve always considered yourself the biggest cheese fan, you may want to rethink that title. People in Gloucestershire love cheese so much, they’ve turned it into a gruelling match. In cheese rolling, a large cheese wheel is sent down Cooper’s Hill and competitors are forced to race after it. The first person to reach the bottom of the hill wins the cheese. 

We’re not sure why, but cheese rolling is typically a men’s only sport — with no known female competitors at the official race. Regardless, you really have to love gouda to want to get in on this tournament. Even though cheese rolling may not sound dangerous, this ‘death-defying’ race has caused several injuries over the years. 

Underwater Hockey

Given that many Canaidans consider hockey to be our national sport (it’s actually lacrosse), some fans may consider this next one to be sacrilegious. Known globally as Octopush, this game uses sticks and a puck, just like regular hockey. The only difference? It’s played underwater. Both teams maneuver a puck across a swimming pool floor into — yup, you guessed it — underwater nets. 

Canadians can’t be that offended though. This country was the first to host the Underwater Hockey World Championship back in 1980. And you can tell the sport’s official confederation takes it very seriously: Each championship kicks off with an opening ceremony, just like the Olympics. 

Shin Kicking

Ouch! Shin kicking is a sport that should probably be on the list of the most painful. This combat match involves two competitors trying to kick each other in the shins — until one person eventually hits the ground. Shin kicking is nothing new though. It originated in England in the early 17th century, and has had a cult-like following ever since. In fact, the Shin Kicking World Championship is part of England’s annual Cotsworld Olimpick Games. Although, tournaments are much safer than they were back in the 1600s. Nowadays, steel toe caps are banned and contestants are allowed to wear straw shin pads. 

Extreme Ironing

Now here’s a sport that would make any neat freak proud. Extreme ironing involves competitors going to remote — and sometimes dangerous — places to get those pesky wrinkles out of their clothes. Known as ‘ironists’, this domestic chore has been performed everywhere except in the comforts of home. Participants have been known to iron on top of cars, and even while hanging from cliffs. It’s up to you whether you’d call this an extreme sport or circus acrobatics. Regardless, one thing’s for sure: Extreme ironing offers the thrill of a lifetime — while giving you the satisfaction of a pressed shirt!

Toe Wrestling

1-2-3-4. I declare a…toe war? Yes, forget thumb wrestling. Toes are the new weapon of choice. This wacky sport dates all the way back to 1976 when the Brits were looking for a way to gain a new sports title. Barefoot contestants interlock toes and try to pin down their opponent’s foot. The rules remain as simple as ever: Shoes and socks are banned, but all kinds of strategic play is allowed. 

Sports Conditioning at Physiomed

Whether you’re an extreme ironist or just an amateur golfer, you can rely on Physiomed to help you get in top physical shape. We believe that improving your health can dramatically improve your overall game. Physiomed’s sports conditioning program involves a functional fitness screening test to assess your biomechanics, range of motion and overall stability. Our team of experts will then create a customized plan, which will focus on improving problem areas and strengthening the key muscles used in your sport. We have decades of experience working with athletes from a diverse range of skills and performance levels. No matter what your sport or your level of play, Physiomed has the expertise to help you excel and stay ahead of the game. 

For more information on sports conditioning or to book an assessment, contact us here.

Dr. Scott Wilson

Dr. Scott Wilson is the Founder & Chairman of Physiomed; one of Canada’s largest franchised networks of inter-disciplinary healthcare clinics. A graduate of Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, Dr. Wilson founded Physiomed in 1994 and has since grown Physiomed to over 30 clinics in Southern Ontario and British Columbia. With hundreds of practitioners from over a dozen disciplines, Dr. Wilson and Physiomed have helped over 100,000 Canadians with physiotherapy, chiropractic, massage therapy, orthotic therapy, compression therapy and clinical conditioning as part of a program of rehabilitation and health optimization. In addition to helping patients improve their physical and mental well-being, Dr. Wilson has also mentored hundreds of practitioners to provide better care while enjoying more fulfilling careers. He is also a keynote speaker on many health related topics including how physiotherapy, chiropractic and health & wellness treatment can help with stress, weight loss, and unlocking the true potential within to achieve lasting physical well-being.

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