Weird Sports Around the World You Did Not Know Existed

There’s a streak of daredevilry in all of us, but only few are able to use it fully. How do you feel about rolling down a steep hill just for a round of cheese? It may not be something up your alley, but some are more than ready to go for some cheese. Here’s a list of weird sports around the world you didn’t know existed.

Cheese Rolling

Did you think this was about rolling in a goo of cheese? Well, it is not! Started in the 15th century in Gloucester (England), the annual event requires participants to charge down a steep slope to eat cheese. Weird and fascinating, all at the same time.

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Extreme Ironing

This is basic ironing in extreme situations. It lets the participant take an iron and a few clothes to remote areas and press them while performing the stunt. One could be doing it while skydiving or mountaineering. According to reports, it began in 1997 in Leicester, England.

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Image credit: Phil Shaw/ Wikimedia Commons


Also known as radball, the sport is fusion of football and cycling. The riders are given a ball that needs to be manoeuvred using the wheels of the cycle (which do not have brakes on them) they are on. Popular in European countries since a century, the sport has championships to its credit. The idea of a radball came to German-American chap Nick Kauffman when he tried dodging a dog with his cycle.

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Image credit: Dr. Ivan Kučera/ Wikimedia Commons

Elephant Polo

Horse and polo go like house on fire – the racing horses and the thrill associated with the chase, everything just falls into place. But it’s kind of tough to imagine the same sport with riders atop an elephant, who are sluggish by nature. Until two years ago, the sport was quite an attraction for tourists in Rajasthan (India); it has now been banned. This variant of polo is, however, still popular in Thailand, Sri Lanka and Nepal.

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Wife Carrying

Almost over two decades ago, Finland introduced Wife-Carrying to the world. This sport is as much fun to do as much it’s fun to see. A typical contest requires the husband to carry his wife over the shoulders through an obstacle race in the fastest time. What’s interesting is, there are 3 types of carry: piggyback, over the shoulders and Estonian (in this one wife holds on to the husband’s waist hanging upside down).

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Image credit: Cortney Paxton/ Wikimedia Commons

Chess Boxing

This hybrid sport brings two starkly opposite emotions, patience and aggression, together. Invented by Dutch performance artist Lepe Rubingh, the sport requires participants to alternate between chess and boxing; i.e., a round of boxing followed by chess. It’s popular in Germany and Great Britain, and is occasionally held in Russia.

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Toe Wrestling

Nothing novel about this one except the reason why the sport came to be. It is as good as thumb wrestling, except you’d be pinning your opponent’s toe down for it. The game was apparently invented by a group of British drinkers in the 1970s who were upset that Britain had failed to produce world champions.

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Image credit: Caravanum/ Flickr

Volcano Boarding

This is extreme but also a lot of fun. Volcano surfing/ boarding is popular in Central America, specifically in Nicaragua. The sport is all about surfing through the volcanic ash-loaded slopes of mountains. Protective gear is a must as it runs the risk of injuring the participant severely. Riders climb up slopes and slide down on a metal board, either in a sitting or standing position.

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Underwater Hockey

Same old hockey with difficulty level: extreme. As if handling a wild puck wasn’t enough that the inventors decided to play a little with the medium. Also known as octopush, this is a brit-favourite and is played in a swimming pool where teams are required to propel the puck using their hockey sticks. It originated in the 1950s.

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Image Credit: DavidUnderwater/ Wikimedia Commons 

Feeling up to the challenge?