Leaders of the ice-fishing community, aiming for official Olympics recognition as a sport, have begun the process by asking the World Anti-Doping Agency to randomly test its “athletes” for performance-enhancing drugs, according to a February New York Times report. However, said the chairman of the U.S. Freshwater Fishing Association, “We do not test for beer,” because, he added, “Everyone would fail.” Ice-fishing is a lonely, frigid endeavor rarely employing strength but mostly requiring guile and strategy, as competitors who discover advantageous spots in the lake must surreptitiously upload the hauls lest competitors rush over to drill their own holes. Urine tests have also been run in recent years on competitors in darts, miniature golf, chess and tug-of-war, and in 2011, one chess player, two minigolfers and one tugger tested positive.
n A frequent sight on Soweto, South Africa, streets recently is crowds of 12-to-15-year-old boys known as “izikhotane” (“boasters”) who hang out in their designer jeans, “shimmering silk shirts, bright pink and blue shoes, and white-straw, narrow-brimmed fedoras,” according to a February BBC News dispatch. Flashing wads of cash begged from beleaguered parents, hundreds may amass, playing loud music and sometimes even trashing their fancy clothes as if to feign an indifference to wealth. Since many izikhotanes’ families are working-class survivors of apartheid, they are mostly ashamed of their kids’ behavior. “This isn’t what we struggled for,” lamented one parent. But, protested a peer-pressured boaster, “(Y)ou must dress like this, even if you live in a shack.”
n India’s annual “Rural Olympics” might be the cultural equivalent of several Southern U.S. “Redneck Olympics” but taken somewhat more seriously, in that this year, corporate sponsorships (Nokia and Suzuki) helped fund the equivalent of about $66,000 in prize money for such events as competitive pulling using only one’s ears or teeth. “We do this for money, trophies, fame and respect,” one ear-puller told The Wall Street Journal in February. This year, in the four-day event in Punjab state, the 50,000 spectators could watch a teeth-lifter pull a 110-pound sack upward for about eight seconds and an ear-puller ease a car about 15 feet.