Loughborough University is undoubtedly renowned for sport, but it can be overwhelming being surrounded by the sport enthusiasts if you remain unfazed by such cathartic activities.

However, if you still have a competitive streak, then there are a few diverse approaches to the former traditions of sport. Here are a few of the unusual and quirky alternatives that we think would be interesting to see at this year’s Olympic Games.

Toe Wrestling

If you lack the motivation to play a sport that requires you to run, then Toe Wrestling may be an appealing alternative. What could be better than a sport which requires you to sit down?

Although, you will need to have strong toes to play.

The ‘sport’ is a spin-off from the popular childish game of thumb wrestling. It first became popular in 1976, when Wetton, Derbyshire hosted its first World Toe Wrestling Competition in a pub called the ‘Ye Olde Royal Oak Inn’. Everything is unconventional about this sport, even the setting.

It is self explanatory for those familiar with thumb or arm wrestling. The contestants weave and lock their toes together upon a ‘toedium’ and attempt to force their opponent’s foot off to claim victory. Toe Wrestling could be the perfect way to defy the norms of sport, although there is the unavoidable question of foot hygiene.

Worm Charming

Welcome the weird and wonderful to the Olympics in the form of worm charming. This ‘sport’ allocates each competitor a predetermined space of land from which to uncover as many worms as possible in a given time frame.

Competitors can use any means they choose to tempt worms to the surface. It really is that simple. This ‘sport’ is already established, with the World Worm Charming Championships taking place in the Cheshire village of Willaston annually and the International Festival of Worm Charming having been established in South Devon for 30 years.

Surely it is time the Olympics welcomed Worm Charming? (Label regrets to inform anyone hoping to take up this sport that the use of dishwashing detergent in the ‘charming’ of worms has been banned.)

Zorbing or Zorb Ball

If you’ve ever felt the Olympics needed something a little ‘different’ Zorb ball might be the one for you. Zorb ball or zorbing, a fun ‘extreme sport’ originating in New Zealand, sees individuals or pairs travel downhill, or more occasionally across a flat surface, in a large plastic or inflatable orb.

Typically a recreational pursuit rather than a competitive sport, this activity could offer some light relief in the Olympics as athletes are pitted against each other, giving this sport the competitive edge necessary to compliment the comical visual. Flatter surfaces or gentle slopes might be made more ‘interesting’ with the introduction of obstacles or ramps. It would be like nothing viewers had beheld before.

Rock, Paper, Scissors

Most of us know and love Rock Paper Scissors from our childhood; whether it’s been used to make important decisions or to while away time in the middle of a school assembly. The rules are simple; your hand changes into an object. Rock beats scissors but loses to paper, paper loses to scissors, and scissors loses to rock.

What most people don’t know is that there are actual tournaments held. In 2005, the Championships were held in Toronto, Canada involving 495 competitors including the USA, the UK, Norway, New Zealand and Australia. For a game that is based on luck, the prizes are extremely rewarding. The winner won 7,000 Canadian dollars, the second won $1500 and the third won $500!

Wife Carrying

The Wife Carrying Festivalis held every year in Finland early in July. The aim is for a man to navigate a 253.5m course and carry their ‘wife’ on their back at the same time. (Their ‘wife’ doesn’t have to be their wife; it just has to be a woman).

There are different ways that she can be carried: piggyback, over the shoulder, or she can hang upside-down with her legs around her ‘husband’s’ shoulders and hold on to his waist. The course has two dry obstacles and one water obstacle. The contestants run the race two at a time. Other rules include that the wife must be over 17, weigh at least 49kg and there is a 15 second fine for dropping her!

If this event took place at the Olympics, competitors would have some stiff competition as for three years running the same pair has won the championships: Taisto Miettinen and Kristiina Haapanen.

So never let it be said that in sport there isn’t something for everyone. We’re not sure that any of these ‘sports’ will be coming to the Olympics anytime soon but they would sure make for interesting entertainment.


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