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Shin-Kicking World Championship At Cotswold Olimpick Games Celebrates 400-Year-Old Tradition

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Kickers at the 2012 Shin-Kicking World Championship.
Kickers at the 2012 Shin-Kicking World Championship.

Does the biathlon bore you? Do you snore through synchronized swimming? For a competition that will really knock you off your feet, take a trip back in time with a beloved British event that's been going strong for 400 years: shin-kicking.

The Shin-Kicking World Championship is an integral part of the Cotswold Olimpick Games, an event held annually in the English town of Chipping Campden. In 1612, the story goes, a local man named Robert Dover held a series of sporting events inspired by the Olympic games of ancient Greece. The official Cotswold Games website claims that Dover's fair ultimately led "to the creation of the modern Olympics."

The Cotswold Games were held each year until 1852, ITN reports, but were reinstated in 1965. The events are reminiscent of those held in 1612, and include a five-mile race and tug-of-war, in addition to shin-kicking.

The rules of shin-kicking are simple. The "kickers," as they are called, pair up, holding each other's shoulders while each kicker attempts to knock down his or her opponent using only kicks to the shin. Best out of three wins each round, and competitors may use only straw stuffed into socks or pant legs to pad their shins.

James Wiseman, this year's judge, said the event takes more skill than some might think. "It's a bit like wrestling, but with a lot of contact below the knees," he said. "To throw the person to the ground, you've got to unbalance them by kicking them first."

This year's Cotswold Games were held on June 1, and 23-year-old Zac Warren took home the shin-kicking prize, according to CBS News.

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