Chess Boxing, a hybrid sport which combines boxing with chess in alternating rounds, is growing in popularity. Inspired by fictional depictions of the sport in French comic book artist Enki Bilal's graphic novel, Froid Équateur, Dutch artist Iepe Rubingh brought the concept to life in 2001. Governed by the World Chess Boxing Organisation, whose motto is "Fighting is done in the ring and wars are waged on the board", matches consist of up to eleven alternating rounds of boxing and chess with a one minute break between rounds. A photographic account of the sport. Further reading. Further viewing. Previously.
"Armenia is a tiny, poor country in the Caucasus, with a population of just over 3m. It has a long history of bloodshed and oppression; when it appears in the news it is usually because of its entanglement in some labyrinthine regional feud. And it excels at the ancient, cerebral game of chess." (via)
The Guardian recently published a beautiful article about Danish Dynamite, the '80s Danish national soccer (football) squad. Rob Smyth and Lars Eriksen write about how the success and failure of the national team highlighted national traits that Denmark has. The writing about the matches is among the most inspired I have ever read. [more inside]
Cuban players have long been a mainstay in baseball. After Fidel Castro made it impossible for people to leave the island, the flow of players stopped to a drip. That changed with the defection of Rene Arocha in 1991. [more inside]
Mark McGwire was one of the most feared sluggers in the game during his career. In 1998, the home run chase between McGwire and Sammy Sosa helped baseball recover from the 1994 strike. But, when a reporter found a bottle containing andro in McGwire's locker, some chinks in his armor began to emerge. [more inside]
Simon Dyson was the winner at the Dunhill Links Championship, but Manuel de los Santos may have made the biggest impression at the pro-am event, which was played on St. Andrews, Kingsbarns and Carnoustie. De los Santos, 25, is a former baseball player who lost a leg in a car accident and picked up golf in 2004, after moving from his native Dominican Republic to France. He plays to a 3-handicap without the aid of a prosthesis.
Conquerors 2009 “There are many underhanded ways of making your conker harder. The best is to pass it through a pig." World Conker Champion – Charlie Bray. The World Conker Championships are on this weekend. All the action from last year. previously   In other news, a cure for bleeding canker has been found, with a welcome side effect, leaf miners don't like having garlic breath.
Botchamania is a series of fan-created, professional wrestling video mashups that showcases the physical slip ups, bad commentary and interviews, and bizarre aspects of wrestling.
At the insistence of Cincinnati Bengals owner Mike Brown, the FAA is apparently targeting a pilot who was hired this month by disgruntled fans to fly messages like "Hire a GM!" over the team's training camp. A "Mike Brown Step Down" banner was flown over games last season. Brown's futility (1 winning season in 18 years) in Cincinnati has spurred fans to pay thousands for billboards and distribute urinal cakes, while HBO's Hard Knocks series has recently shown insight into his cluelessness. [more inside]
South African runner Caster Semenya wins a gold in the 800 meter amid controversy and accusations about her sex. Analysis of Semenya's situation and more information on sex verification in sport.
Strange Games "What do you get if you cross a large rubber ball used for physical therapy with the medieval sport of Jousting? Yoga Ball Jousting."
Hooping. The hoops adults use to dance and perform tricks are larger and heavier than the children's toy called the Hula Hoop. As hooping becomes more popular, people across the States and across the world are pushing the boundaries of dance and sport with a simple, easily made tool. Hooping for pleasure, exercise, and meditation is becoming a phenomenon. There's even a documentary. [more inside]
...many artists say their absurdist sports are an outgrowth of the contemporary art-world trend toward participatory art, which is intended to break down walls between artist and audience. But beyond the high-mindedness, the skinny-armed aesthetes also seem to be on a personal mission to reclaim sports from the bull-necked athletes of their youth. The NYT Fashion & Style section examines the trend of "art-sports," high concept games that are gaining in popularity amongst a demographic not typically know for their athletic endeavors. Some practitioners have dubbed these games "aesthletics" and have established an Institute of Aesthlectics for their promotion. [more inside]
NRW 1946—2006. Short articles chronicling North Rhine-Westphalia. The site has one rather large shortcoming though, the video clips cannot be accessed (only available on VHS within the State!).
Start your engines. Megan Culbert, age 8, was in her first year of racing.... her best time so far was an 11.30 in the 1/8 mile. Vroom.
Noodling, catfisting, grabbling, graveling, hogging, dogging, gurgling, tickling, stumping: all these words mean the same thing--catching big, honkin' catfish with your bare hands!
'Roy Of The Rovers' is back... The footballer* has returned to the newsagents in a one-off special. [more inside]
America is doomed. Why? Soccer.
The future of soccer in America is black, female and from the inner-city.
Soviet Music "You are browsing a resource which is devoted first of all to the history and culture of the Soviet Union, the country which the West for a long time usually named as "The Empire of Evil", the country to which some people in the West perceive as "something big and snowy". I offer you to try to look outside the frames of usual stereotypes, to try to understand life of a unique country, with its interesting history, beautiful culture and miraculous relations between people. The music submitted on this site - is an evident sample of a totally new culture, which completely differs from all that, with what Hollywood and MTV supply us so much. This culture, being free from the cult of money, platitude, violence and sex, was urged to not indulge low bents of a human soul but to help the person to become culturally enriched and to grow above himself." [more inside]
Too bad the guy was only thirty eight - just two years older, he'd have been worth three times the points...
Did you grow up anticipating sports where death would be likely, if not certain? Almost certainly played by convicts, possibly with robot limbs? And which would be even more likely to have chainsaws and flamethrowers not usually found in the sports of today? Those We Left Behind’s look at Future-sports of the past, in videogames, movies and comics is for you!
Up to now, no black cyclist has ever competed in the Tour de France. One man hopes to to change that. Last month Nicholas Leong, a Singaporean photographer and supporter of the Major Taylor Association (previously: 1, 2), travelled to Eldoret in Kenya, a place better known for producing world-class distance runners. There, he found two Kenyan cyclists and took them to France to tackle one of the Tour's most iconic climbs: Alpe d'Huez. [more inside]
Female Single Combat Club [nsfw]. An extensive site about women fighters around the world and in history. In English and Russian. Previously.
Jamie Hewlett of Tank Girl and Gorrilaz fame has created the animated film that will be used to introduce the BBC's coverage of the summer Olympics with music by his fellow Gorrlaz compatriot, Damon Albarn, inspired by Monkey, the cult classic television program. [more inside]
Every culture has its own way of expressing its masculinity. It so happens that in Turkey this involves a lot of oil, bare chests, physical contact, and putting your hands down your opponents kisbet. [more inside]
The Journal of Footballing History is a scholarly journal about the history of football (soccer) all over the world. You need to register (or "subscribe" as JOFH calls it) but it's free. Gloriously, gloriously free. After you've subscribed you can enjoy articles on matters such as France's footballing culture, a back and forth about the state of African football, a pair of articles about Euro 2000 and what England's dismal failure at that European Championships tells us about the national side and on shooting from free kicks. There are also short histories of kits, boots, passing and squads and a book review section.
To celebrate its hundredth edition the Observer Sport Monthly publishes it's ten best Top Tens. [more inside]
The Ultimate Act of Sports(wo)manship "It kept everything in perspective and the fact that we're never bigger than the game. ... It was such a lesson that we learned—that it's not all about winning. And we forget that, because as coaches, we're always trying to get to the top. We forget that. But I will never, ever forget this moment. It's changed me, and I'm sure it's changed my players." [via SportsFilter]
Arthur Ashe's words and legacy. Arthur Ashe (1943-1993) was the first (and only) black man to win Wimbledon, the Australian Open and the US Open tennis tournaments and a very vocal civil rights activist and leader. Last week on WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show, Brian had on Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe[embedded audio player] and they were remembering a moment on Martin Luther King Day 1993, when Arthur called into the show from his hospital room (he died three weeks later). His views from Martin Luther King, Malcom X, Muhammad Ali and the 1966 and 1992 Los Angeles riots are at once eloquent and riveting.
Jallikattu, [Stunning Photographs | Jallikattu YouTube] an Indian version of the Running of the Bulls, takes place in the State of Tamil Nadu, during the Pongal festival each year. This year, the Supreme Court directed the State Government to put a halt to the practice, in vain, and the bulls were forced to participate as usual (with 129 people being gored, and many more injured). [more inside]
The British Olympic Committee unveiled the logo and branding for London 2012 today, at a cost of £400,000 (USD796,000). Reaction has been swift - a petition to change the logo or go back to the old one has already reached 10,000 signatures.
Ready or Not. "South Africa is a great place to have a party, and people are incredibly generous of spirit. What we should be doing is trying to make the World Cup experience uniquely African: where the bus comes 10 minutes late but nobody gives a toss because they are having such a good time. Instead, the organisers seem to want to try to run the World Cup as efficiently as the Germans did. What a load of bull. The Germans could invade Poland in three days. We could not invade Swaziland in three months." Article in today's Observer about preparations in South Africa for the soccer World Cup in 2010.
Peak Performance is a website featuring dozens of articles on just about every aspect of sports science, including large sections devoted to cycling, swimming and sports psychology. Some of my own favorites deal with the beneficial effects of Omega-3 fatty acids, the Chinese government’s plan to dominate the Olympics, Veronique Billat’s 30-30 running workouts and how to increase growth hormone levels naturally.
Haka is a type of ritual performance native to Aotearoa. Occurring before battles or peacetime ceremonies, it is less of a "war chant" than a way of fiercely asserting group solidarity while referring to a specific ancestry or significant event. The best known haka are probably the versions practiced by the New Zealand All Blacks: Ka Mate and, more recently, Kapa O Pango. More than just a traditional dance, haka has been an important element of the Maori Renaissance- the revival of language, culture and arts that has occurred since the re-affirmation of the Treaty of Waitangi (and has recently come under attack). For the All Blacks, haka now connects both Maori and Pakeha (outsider) players through a shared history and physical discipline, although this was not always the case. Nevertheless, the haka can make a powerful impression, particularly when someone answers in kind.
Stoolball is the medieval ancestor of cricket and baseball. First mentioned in print in 1671, it was reputedly played by milkmaids, who used their bare hands as bats. The game is still played today in some parts of south-east England, but luckily with frying pan-shaped contraptions instead. An important rule is that not following the spirit of the game will get you sent off the pitch. Here are some pictures of games in progress, along with other medieval bat-and-ball games such as Nipsy and Knur & Spell. Or, if you don't like ball games, try another medieval sport, dwile flonking (play online in flash).
Todd Skinner falls to his death Sport and free climbing pioneer/entrepreneur, Todd Skinner, died over the weekend in a 500-foot fall. Sadly, it appears that his death was from a "..very worn.." belay loop on his harness. I met Todd about 10 years ago, and was struck by his warmth and enthusiasm. He spent almost three hours at a dingy Seattle climbing gym with about 10 neophyte femail climbers. He helped us all climb better and have more fun. He was generous with his praise, and offered truly helpful instruction - his ego did not get in the way (unlike many climbing instructors/"stars"). He'll be missed.
What is it like to take performance enhancing drugs? Writer/cyclist takes dope, tells story.
Observed Trials is arguably the most skilful and spectacular of all motorcycle sports, but party due to the outdoor, occasionally remote locations of most competitions, remains very much out of the public eye. Historically it has been dominated by European riders and although the US had a world champion in 1979, international success has eluded American riders in recent years.Recently, trials has become somewhat fragmented with indoor events becoming increasingly popular with non-afficionado spectators and extreme (NSFW soundtrack) freeriding taking off, particuarly in France although to purists real trials only take place "in the wild".
American Football. A montage of rousing moments of football action, a heartfelt soundtrack, and gratuitous special effects combine to produce a surrealistic portrayal of America's greatest sport. Discovery sequence: Ronaldinho: Touch of Gold, Best soccer goals FIFA, Ronaldinho vs Zidane, hockey.
"If that's what's on, then that's what they watch. It's either that, or a cricket match between Scotland and Bermuda. Now, I am an educated man, Charlie, but when someone tries to explain cricket to me, all I want to do is hit him in the head with a teapot." Cricket Explained (An American Viewpoint) for those, following a recent cricket thread, that want to get it, but don't quite yet.
6 years after being given 6 months to live, Jane Tomlinson has raised shedloads of money for charity. In doing so, she cycled from Rome to Home (yorkshire - 2500 miles), was the first terminally ill person to complete the Florida Ironman Triathlon, has completed numerous marathons and half marathons (she's the first person to have completed the London marathon whilst on chemotherapy). Her current challenge is to cycle across the US finishing on the 6th anniversary of her diagnosis. It's not all fun. Yesterday, she had a bottle thrown at her, was followed by a cop, and sprayed with road chippings by a lorry.
Goals are become scarce in the final 16 knockout phase of the World Cup. A discussion has been going on over at the Guardian's World Cup blogs. In the knockout phase the number of goals has declined from 42 in 1986 to about 25 in 2006. There hasn't been a World Cup Final since 1986 where both teams scored. There have been a mere 3 games in the knockout phase from 14 where both teams have scored. For the first time ever a team, Switzerland, has been eliminated without conceding a single goal. Does something need to be done? Do bigger goals, no goalkeeper, fewer players or changed rules need to be considered?
How the hell did Fuzzy sink this hole-in-one?! It hangs for looooong seconds in the rough, then accelerates directly to the hole. I swear, there were magnets involved! Quite possibly the most amazing hole-in-one ever.
Go team. I have been struggling with my outrage over this story (the details of what seems very likely to have happened and the terrible, horrible one offs comments that I've read about in response to it) for over a week now. It seems odd that no one has posted the story on MeFi, given its implications on class, race, race relations in an integrated southern city, elite educational institutions, frat boy mayhem (to an extreme), and when no means no and it doesn't matter who is saying it. One thing's for sure, this story keeps getting worse.
The Googly blog has been launched by Shiny Shiny. With the entry of China into the arena, cricket is poised to become the number one international sport.
More than a BMX - The StreetSurfer is a patented pedal-driven vehicle (think BMX) that you ride like a surfboard in an urban setting. It consists of a normal bike frame, a rear wheel (duh) and four mini wheels on the front. These littler front wheels apparently track the surface of the ground better than a traditional bicycle and therefore give the rider a smoother, more controlled ride. More info via the StreetSurfer's awfully designed website (ugly Flash warning), although there's two chunky videos to download that also help to explain the product in further detail. Via Beyond Tomorrow. …