Cities Journal

21 Weirdest Sports In The World


2. Oil Wrestling

There are parts of the world where wrestling (think Foxcatcher and not WWE) is a huge sport, mostly in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East. In Turkey, the national sport is actually a form of wrestling most popularly called oil wrestling because of the simple fact that the wrestlers are totally oiled up before the bouts.

The sport involves incredible feats of strength and skill as two opponents try to assert dominance over one another using various holds and techniques. Back in the good old days, the matches had no time limits and they could go on for hours or even days.

The oil wrestling competitions are held all year long in Turkey but early in the summer, around 1000 of the best wrestlers gather in a town called Edirne for Kirkpinar, a three-day wrestling bonanza; the Super Bowl of oil wrestling if you wish. This competition is actually the oldest continuously running and sanctioned competition in the world, being organized every year since 1362. Yup… 1362.

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