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Sports Suck; These Are Exceptions

Posted by Doug on December 25, 2008

I’m not too particularly fond of sports.  Basketball, baseball, football (either version), hockey, stuff like that: their fans can have them.  Not my thing.  Of course, there are some athletic events that I will go out of my way to watch: The World’s Strongest Man, and Sasuke/Kunoichi (known stateside as Ninja Warrior).

Take the biggest, most ridiculously amazingly incredibly strong guys in the world, and have them lift, throw, carry, and drag extremely heavy objects.  It sounds terribly silly, and it is, but it’s just so awesome. This is the extreme of human performance—there is some technique to the events, but unlike in powerlifting or weightlifting, brute strength is more important. Take, for example, this video clip from the 2008 WSM in West Virginia. Just for the record, the plane is a C-130 Hercules (oh, how fitting a choice), and empty they weigh 83,000 pounds.

Now for the other extreme.  The Sasuke and Kunoichi events are essentially obstacle courses, demanding agility, balance, and grip strength, and designed to be so difficult that it is not unusual when nobody manages to complete it—one hundred people compete in each event; in seven Kunoichi competitions, the course was completed only three times (all by Miyake Ayako); in twenty-one Sasuke competitions, the course has been completed only twice (by Akiyama Kazuhiko and Nagano Makoto).  Winners make these events look easy, but the long list of those who went in the muddy waters of Midoriyama stand as a testament to the difficulty of the challenge.

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