Photo: ComposedPix/Shutterstock

10 Odd Sports Around the World

by Benita Hussain Sep 14, 2010
The world’s weirdest games, from the fancy to the fiery.

People can find competition in almost anything, including art. The goofier the sport, the more it makes some people nostalgic for long-gone gym classes.

Below, we present just ten of the many odd competitions that have popped up around the world. Some are deeply ingrained in their respective societies, and some have gone from tongue-in-cheek to serious stuff. They all look fun and slightly dangerous, which is really what sports are about.

Cheese Rolling, England

Photo: ComposedPix/Shutterstock

Every spring, the citizens of Gloucestershire throw a wheel of cheese down Cooper Hill and chase after it. The winner of the race gets to keep the cheese. Due to the hill’s steepness, the wheel can reach speeds up to 70mph, injuring many racers along the way. Safety concerns like this led the 2010 race to be cancelled.

Brompton Bike Competition, England

The makers of these lightweight, foldable commuter bikes sponsor the annual Brompton World Championships, and this year’s will be on October 3rd in Oxfordshire, England. Jackets and ties are required.

Korfball, Netherlands

Photo: KeremGogus/Shutterstock

This is a Dutch version of basketball that’s also played throughout Europe, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. As one of the few mixed-gender ball games, it was a demonstration sport in the 1920 Olympics in Belgium. There’s a beach version of the game too.

Iceboating, United States (Great Lakes)

Photo: dejavelinka/Shutterstock

Similar to sailboats, but fitted with skis and runners, traditional iceboats were used to ship goods across frozen lakes in the 19th century. Iceboats are now more often used for recreation and racing. To me, they look more beautiful than odd against their frozen backdrops.

Camel Racing, Middle East

Though popular in the Middle East and India, the most notable camel racing event occurs in Alice Springs, Australia. While the sport has a questionable number of children as jockeys, there is a growing trend to hire adult racers. Regardless, camels are just plain funny, so I can see why the sport draws crowds.

Kickball, United States

For many of us, this sport serves as a reminder of a time when all we had to worry about was whether we could kick a rubber ball that was never inflated enough. Many adults are taking up the sport again, and teams with no sense of irony appearing all over the US. Unlike the Brompton race above, tube socks and pigtails are strongly encouraged.


Photo: Paul Prescott/Shutterstock

We’ve covered it before, and we’ll cover it again. This is like beer pong for nerds.

Toe Wrestling, England

The World Championships started in 1976 in Derbyshire, UK. The object is to lock big toes and force your opponent’s foot to the ground. Not a game for the foot-phobic.

Fire Jumping, Middle East

This sport has roots in a Persian New Year ritual that dates back the Zoroastrian era.

Snowmobile Racing, United States

This sport, popularized in places with lots of space and snow such as the American Midwest, Alaska, and Scandinavia, can be grueling, with some races going as long as 500 miles. While probably the least eco-friendly of all these sports, the photos are lovely. 


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