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4 Insane Ways People Torture Themselves in the Name of Sport

Sports encourage people to put themselves through rigorous physical torture for the chance to earn the glorious admiration and respect of their peers. The following sports do all of that first thing and none of the second.

#4. World Sauna Championships

The World Sauna Championships is exactly what it sounds like: Competitors sit in a sauna for as long as they can, enduring a temperature of 230 degrees Fahrenheit in hopes of outlasting everyone else and being crowned Sauna Champion of the World.

Maiju Saari
The whole fucking world.

This crazy competition was dreamed up by the Finnish, who were evidently all sitting around a giant Finland-sized table one day and decided that there weren't enough ways to get heat stroke.

You might notice that the lovely ladies in the picture look like they're cold:

Heikki Saukkomaa / Stringer / Getty
Or gearing up for the worst porno in history.

That's actually heat stroke setting in. Yet they seem undaunted, perhaps because their entrant numbers have yet to sweat off.

AFP / Stringer / Getty
"See? If the marker can take it, so can we."

Sadly, the competition was suspended indefinitely in 2010, after the last two finalists passed out and had to be rushed to the hospital, where one of them died. According to tradition, he was awarded second place.

#3. Dinka Fat Men

Members of the Dinka tribe in southern Sudan take great pride in obesity, where it is considered a sign of wealth (as opposed to America, where the wealthy look like bronzed leather skeletons). Every year, the single men of the tribe engage in a milk-drinking competition to see who can become the fattest of them all. Over the course of three months, they force as much milk down their gullets as they possibly can, and then do their very best to make as little effort as possible, sparing any calories that might be burned off by unnecessary activities such as standing up or thinking.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Or not guzzling milk in front of growing children in the middle of the goddamned African desert.

After nearly gorging themselves to death, they strip ass naked and paint their bodies with burned cow shit, letting everyone know that within this deuce-smeared marshmallow man beats the heart of a champion.

Quo.es
"Eye ... of the ... tiger, it's the ... thrill of the ... *snore*"

#2. Self-Transcendence Race

The Self-Transcendence Race is currently the longest official race on the planet -- it's 3,100 miles long with an allotted time limit of 52 days, and we assume it gets its title from the fact that you will have long since become a shambling phantom by the time you complete it.

At a generous estimate, you need to cover 60 miles per day, which is longer than two marathons. Also, the course is 5,649 laps around a single city block in Queens, in one of the borough's poorest neighborhoods.

Timothy A. Lary / AFP / Getty
On the plus side, it's great incentive to run faster.

If you manage to get through all of that without collapsing in a heap of jogging-shorts-clad death, you're probably still going to get hobo AIDS all over your New Balances.

#1. Ear Pull Championship

If we told you there was such a thing as the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics, you'd probably accuse us of drunken racism. But you would be wrong -- it is indeed a real thing, and it is part of the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame, also unexpectedly a real thing.

The goal of these games is to allow Alaskans to put their unique survival skills on display for the whole world. One such event is the ear pull contest, because this is apparently a hardship that Alaskans are regularly called upon to endure.

Eric Engman / Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
"Polar bears are dicks."

This contest requires competitors to interlock their legs, connect opposing ears with a loop, and then pull as hard as they can until one of them quits. Trash talk is common and feelings of accomplishment are rare. Inuit culture is apparently a huge fan of the torture scene in Reservoir Dogs.

This event is actually banned from some arctic sports competitions, although we're not sure what event they're filling that gap with, since there's clearly a sufficient drought of things to do in Alaska that ripping each other's ears off is considered a sport.

Eric Engman / Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
"Before this, our only sports involved amphetamines."

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