This Week in Taboo: Moustache-Twirling, Wife-Carrying, Hair-Pulling Sports

In honor of this month’s Summer Olympics, we’ve got some truly special competitions for you. Outside of their communities, people may find these sports weird, crazy or even taboo. But to the participants they mean skill, bravery, high art and entertainment.

  1. India’s rural Olympics:
    Lifting iron plows with your teeth, pulling vehicles with your hair, getting run over by tractors: You probably won’t see these sports live from London this year, but they are par for the course in the village of Kila Raipur in India’s Punjab region. Known worldwide for its broad definition of the word ‘sports’, the rural Olympics in Kila Raipur attracts around 4,000 participants and millions more spectators.
  2. Finnish Couple Wins Wife-carrying Championship:
    Finnish couple Taisto Miettinen and Kristiina Haapanen are the winners of the wife-carrying championship – for the fourth year in a row. Miettinen scrambled through 250 meters of track, including a pool and hurdles, to victory with Kristiina clinging to his back. Rooted in local legend and the tribal practice of wife stealing, the victor wins his wife’s weight in beer.
  3. Extreme Cliff Diving Championship:
    While it may not be as strange as pulling a backhoe with your teeth or extreme ironing (yes, that’s actually a thing), extreme cliff diving is truly a test of endurance – and bravery. On July 8th, the world’s best cliff divers met in Grimstad, Norway, completing graceful somersaults and flips off an 88m cliff.
  4. Utah Mayor’s Moustache is Safe… For Now:
    During this year’s Fourth of July parade, citizens of Murray, Utah were asked to vote on whether Mayor Dan Snarr should save or shave his 18-inch moustache by voting thumbs up or down as the Mayor and his family rolled down main street. In the end the thumbs up outnumbered the thumbs down two-to-one, reinstating Snarr’s luxurious ‘stache. Although extreme facial hair is not everyone’s cup of tea, a rising tide of ‘beardsmen’ are elevating their facial hair to art. If you are an aspiring beardsman, you’ve still got time to grow a majestic beard for the third annual Beard Team USA National Beard and Moustache Championships, on November 11th 2012 in Las Vegas.
  5. U.S. Air Guitar Championship:
    Who can say they have never jammed on an air guitar at least once in their lives? The national Air Guitar Championship is turning it up to eleven July 12th in San Diego and Nashville, and July 13th in Los Angeles. Competitors will take the stage and rock out to their favorite tunes sans any actual instrument.

Are you an extreme ironer, an extreme cliff diver or a moustache champion? What sports are you involved in that others may consider taboo? Be sure to tune in to Taboo, Sundays at 10P et/pt on National Geographic Channel.