#2. Bobsledding: Theft and a Gross Disregard for Bystander Safety
Contrary to its charming representation in Cool Runnings, bobsledding was born from an amalgamation of drunken, over-privileged negligence.
In the late 19th century, a brand new winter resort was opened in Switzerland to the delight of young, wealthy Europeans. Winter resorts were pretty new at the time, and as such there wasn't a great deal offered in the way of entertainment other than drinking, looking at mountains and throwing coins at poor people. So travelers decided to amuse themselves by stealing the sleds the resort delivery staff used to carry supplies, fuse a couple of them together and go sledding through the streets of St. Moritz, presumably with delivery food flying out along the way.
"Hey poor people: Look at how much fun money is!"
The innovation pretty much stops there, as the inventors didn't bother to devise a way to steer their contraptions or to think of going sledding in an unpopulated area. Actually, they didn't bother with anything that would help them avoid mowing down the Swiss working class in their merriment.
Still, bobsledding's popularity as a recreational activity for the rich and asinine grew steadily over the next several years. Eventually more runners were added to the bottom of the sled to make it easier to turn, organized races were introduced and women were made a necessary component of each team presumably to make the sport appear less gay.
However, actual runs for the sleds to race along had yet to be invented, so elite Alpine vacationers were still barreling down snow covered streets, smashing into trees and mailboxes. Finally succumbing to reason, the resort built the world's first naturally refrigerating bobsled run in 1902, and two decades later a committee was formed to standardize the rules which allowed the sport to appear in the first Winter Olympics in 1924. It isn't clear which rule--"go," "that way" or "fast"--needed clarification, but the world is unquestionably better for it.
Ah, fuck, I forgot the rules. Just keep going, it's probably fine.
#1. Boxing: Pretty Much Fight Club
Boxing, or variants of it, goes back to the first time some caveman figured out you can make the other guy hurt worse if you curl up your fingers into a ball before you smack him. However, the direct precursor to the modern version comes from England during a time when, after a long day at work, the average man wanted nothing more than to punch another working class man in the face repeatedly and possibly to death (the simple things in life we all take for granted).
In the late 17th and early 18th centuries, bare-knuckle boxing was all the rage. These fights didn't have any limp-wristed sissyfits like "weight classes," "referees" or "rules," and thus matches often ended with "grievous injuries" and "dead bodies." By 1743, boxers had grown sick of getting bruised and battered and killed in the ring, and so London Prize Fight rules were introduced by then champion, Jack Broughton.
Fights were still brutal, bare-knuckled affairs though. Fighters were permitted to wear spiked shoes, holds and throws were legal and there were no round limits. The rules even discussed how to resolve a match that was interrupted by a rioting crowd or police interference, showing how chaotic things could become. Imagine Mike Tyson wearing a pair of knife boots to the ring.
That mustache is fist-proof.
London Prize Fights continued for about 100 years, but the chaos could only last for so long. Eventually the Marquess of Queensberry rules were introduced, which standardized the ring size and the number and length of rounds, and added padded gloves to the mix for the safety and protection of fighters. Amazingly, it took about 120 years for fans to realize the gross mistake that had been made and invent the UFC.
Nice gloves, pussies.
And make sure to keep boning up on your sports trivia by reading The 8 Most Baffling "Sports" From Around The World and 6 People Who Made A Living Playing Retarded 'Sports'.
And stop by Cracked.com's Top Picks to see some sporting boobs.