Becoming a World Champion – easier than you might think

Everyone loves winning. But becoming a World Champion must give you a special rush of emotions – after all, you are the best in the whole world! Sadly, it is a feeling that only few will ever know. Or is it? Maybe you just have to find the right discipline for your true talents to shine. If you haven’t found your field yet, here are some alternatives to mainstream sports, including a an assessment of newcomers’ chances of winning the prestigious title ‚World Champion‘.

By Anja Meunier / 5.9.2018

Toe Wrestling

Invented in England by four men sick of the lack of English World Champions, the sport has since bbecome popular around the world. Petitions to make it an Olympic sport have however failed up until now.

Rules: The game is played with bare feet. Players must link toes and each player’s foot must touch flat on the other person’s foot. The opponents proceed to attempt to pin the other’s foot for three seconds while avoiding the same. There are 3 rounds, played first with the right foot, then left, and right again.

Location: The World Toe Wrestling Championship is held annually in Fenny Bentley in England.

Beginners’ chances: Pretty good, if you have strong feet and toes!

Toe Wrestlers

World Toe Wrestling Championship in Fenny Bentley, United Kingdom. Photo: Caravanum | CC BY 2.0


The roots of this sport are said to date back to 19th century Finland, however it has only recently regained popularity in Finland and abroad.

Rules: The rules are simple – throw the rubber boot as far as you can.

Location: The Bootthrowing World Championship 2018 will be held in Kinnula, Finland on 7th – 8th July 2018.

Beginners’ chances: The community of bootthrowers is not too large, which gives talented newcomers a fair chance of achieving high ranks.

Air Guitar

Kereel ”Your Daddy” Blumenkrants

Kereel ”Your Daddy” Blumenkrants (RUS). Photo: Juuso Haarala / Air Guitar World Championships

Air Guitar is all about surrendering to the music without having an actual instrument. Anyone can taste rock stardom by playing the Air Guitar. No equipment is needed, and there is no requirement for any specific place or special skills.

Rules: The instrument of the contestant must be invisible, i.e. air, contestants will perform one song of their own choice, and the winner is chosen by a jury.

Location: The Air Guitar World Championships are held anually in Oulu, Finland, this year on 22-24 August.

Beginners’ chances: Newcomers can sign up for a qualifying round held the day before the World Championship. Winners of the qualifying round will move on to compete in the finals against official National Champions and the defending World Champion. Thus, even total newbies can become a legend overnight.

Tobacco Snuffing

Forget Oktoberfest, this is where you can really get to know traditional Bavarian culture. It might not be pretty, but it’s authentic, that’s for sure.

Rules: Contestants have one minute to snuff 5 grams of tobacco. If you sneeze or put the tobacco somewhere other than your nose, you will be disqualified. After the time is up, all remains are measured to a thousandth of a gram to determine the winner.

Location: This year, the Tobacco Snuffing World Championship will be held in Knodorf-Irsching, Germany, on 30 June 2018.

Beginners’ chances: This is a discipline where also people without much typical athletic ability can shine. A big nose and dexterity are of high importance in this sport. While traditionally winners of the competition have mostly come from Austria, Germany and Switzerland, there have been some surprise successes of a few underdogs in the past.

Extreme Ironing

If you are not only looking to win prizes, but also to spice up your Instagram feed, this might be the right sport for you.

Rules: All you have to do is iron garments in the most extreme places possible. The official disciplines are Rocky Style (in the mountains or while climbing), Water Style (on and under water), Urban Style (in the city), Forest Style (in the woods or on trees), Synchronised Ironing and Free Style. The first and only World Championship was held 2002 in Germany, where contestants had to pass a parkour and were judged on speed, creativity and creases in the ironed clothing.

Location: The most extreme spot you can find.

Beginners’ chances: Although there is currently no new world championship planned, fame can be achieved by breaking one of the world records. However the bar is high, with the record of underwater ironing at 137 m and the record of high altitude ironing at 6.962 m.

Dog Surfing

If you prefer delegating the hard work of winning gold medals to your four-legged friend, this is the competition for you.

Rules: Dogs are surfing for 10 minutes, during which they try to catch as many waves as they can. Points are awarded based on length of the ride, technique, confidence, size or strength of the wave and other style aspects.

Location: The World Championships for Dog Surfing 2018 take place on the Northern California coast on 4th of August. Aditionally, there are various minor competitions world wide.

Beginners’ chances: If you haven’t yet managed to train your dog to sit up and beg, maybe this isn’t the right competition. If yes, why not give it a go?

Surfing dog

Surfing dog. Photo: StarFlames | CC0 1.0


This game is known around the world under various names, such as “Schnick, Schnack, Schnuck” in Germany or “Kawi-Bawi-Bo” in Korea, Rock-Paper-Scissors is often used to fairly choose between two people. But since it is not truly random and can be played with skill by recognizing non-random behaviour in opponents, it is also a good game for fun turnaments.

Rules: Rock beats Scissors, Scissors beats Paper and Paper beats Rock. Easy peasy.

Location: The European RPS Championships 2018 will be held in London on 3rd November 2018.

Beginners’ chances: For beginners, there is probably no better game than this one.


Good looks might get you far in life – but in this competition all that counts is making your face as ugly as possible.

Rules: There are seperate competitions for men, women and children. The goal is to make the most horrible facial expression imaginable, the winner is chosen by a jury.

Location: The World Gurning Championships are held annualy during the Egremont Crab Fair in England, this year on 14-15 September 2018.

Beginners’ chances: Competition is steep in this unusual contest. Tommy Mattinson (UK) won title in the men’s world title 15 times, while Anne Woods won the women’s world title 28 times, before she passed away in 2015. Another famous contestant, Peter Jackman even had his teeth removed in 2000 to make his features easier to manoeuvre.

Author: Anja

Share This Post On

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *