14 of the most unusual sports played around the world

Ostrich racing originated in Africa and eventually made its way over to the United States. Ostriches can reach a surprising speed of 43 miles an hour, and their legs can reach up to 16 feet in one single stride. During a game of ostrich racing, people sit on ostriches and race them around a track.

Ostrich racing originated in Africa and eventually made its way over to the United States. Ostriches can reach a surprising speed of 43 miles an hour, and their legs can reach up to 16 feet in one single stride. During a game of ostrich racing, people sit on ostriches and race them around a track.
Share Slide

As its name might suggest, chessboxing is a combination of two traditional sports: chess and boxing. The game alternates between serious games of chess and intense rounds of boxing.

As its name might suggest, chessboxing is a combination of two traditional sports: chess and boxing. The game alternates between serious games of chess and intense rounds of boxing.
Share Slide

Underwater hockey is exactly what it sounds like — a game of hockey, but underwater. It was invented in the United Kingdom in 1954.

Underwater hockey is exactly what it sounds like — a game of hockey, but underwater. It was invented in the United Kingdom in 1954.
Share Slide

In the very disturbing game of toe wrestling, two people lock feet and battle with their toes, attempting to pin each other's foot down.

In the very disturbing game of toe wrestling, two people lock feet and battle with their toes, attempting to pin each other's foot down.
Share Slide

Zorbing is the act of racing in a large, transparent ball down hills, through water, or other obstacles.

Zorbing is the act of racing in a large, transparent ball down hills, through water, or other obstacles.
Share Slide

Shovel racing, which involves sitting on a shovel and racing down an icy hill, made its way to the very first Winter X-Games in 1997. There was a hectic crash that severely injured a competitor, which meant that shovel racing's first X-Games appearance was also its last.

Shovel racing, which involves sitting on a shovel and racing down an icy hill, made its way to the very first Winter X-Games in 1997. There was a hectic crash that severely injured a competitor, which meant that shovel racing's first X-Games appearance was also its last.
Share Slide

Sporthocking, also known as extreme sitting, began in Germany. The sport uses a specialized stool to perform tricks — much like skateboard tricks — and land in a sitting position on the stool.

Sporthocking, also known as extreme sitting, began in Germany. The sport uses a specialized stool to perform tricks — much like skateboard tricks — and land in a sitting position on the stool.
Share Slide

Wife carrying originated in Finland and made its way to North America in 1999. The sport involves a man carrying a woman — who are not required to be legally married — on his back, running through obstacles along the way. If the man drops his partner, their team must add five seconds to their time. The team who finishes the course with the fastest time wins.

Wife carrying originated in Finland and made its way to North America in 1999. The sport involves a man carrying a woman — who are not required to be legally married — on his back, running through obstacles along the way. If the man drops his partner, their team must add five seconds to their time. The team who finishes the course with the fastest time wins.
Share Slide

Elephant polo is just like regular polo, except on an elephant — it even requires the same equipment. This sport is popular in Nepal, India, and Thailand.

Elephant polo is just like regular polo, except on an elephant — it even requires the same equipment. This sport is popular in Nepal, India, and Thailand.
Share Slide

Cycleball is a competition between two teams of two, played on bicycles with no breaks. Their goal is to get the ball into the goal using only their wheels and their heads. Players are allowed to use their hands on defense, but not on offense.

Cycleball is a competition between two teams of two, played on bicycles with no breaks. Their goal is to get the ball into the goal using only their wheels and their heads. Players are allowed to use their hands on defense, but not on offense.
Share Slide

Sepak takraw, which originated in Asia, is like volleyball, except the players must use their feet to get the ball over the net. Players are allowed to use any part of their body to keep the ball in the air, except for their arms or hands.

Sepak takraw, which originated in Asia, is like volleyball, except the players must use their feet to get the ball over the net. Players are allowed to use any part of their body to keep the ball in the air, except for their arms or hands.

Source: Sepak Takraw

Share Slide

During cheese rolling, a large cheese wheel is rolled down a steep hill, and competitors race after it. The first person to make it down the hill wins the cheese.

During cheese rolling, a large cheese wheel is rolled down a steep hill, and competitors race after it. The first person to make it down the hill wins the cheese.
Share Slide

Dog surfing involves canines hanging ten with their owners. More intensive dog surfing involves the dogs doing tricks while their owner stands on the board, as pictured below.

Dog surfing involves canines hanging ten with their owners. More intensive dog surfing involves the dogs doing tricks while their owner stands on the board, as pictured below.
Share Slide

Quidditch started out as a fictional game for wizards in the popular "Harry Potter" series. Fans loved the idea of quidditch so much that it soon became a real sport played internationally. A team is made up of seven athletes who must play with a broom between their legs at all times. It borrows elements from rugby, dodgeball, and tag.

Quidditch started out as a fictional game for wizards in the popular "Harry Potter" series. Fans loved the idea of quidditch so much that it soon became a real sport played internationally. A team is made up of seven athletes who must play with a broom between their legs at all times. It borrows elements from rugby, dodgeball, and tag.
Share Slide

More from our Partners