National Sports: The Quiz, and the Most Unusual

The world is filled with different sports. Sometimes, they are rather amusing. Take our quiz to see how much you know.

Jun 7, 2010
National Sports Quiz
Click below to download a PDF of our quiz and test your knowledge of national sports.
Illustration by Ward Schumaker

Just as the world is filled with different languages and cultures, so it is filled with different sports. This makes for a refreshing variety of athletic endeavours—and sometimes a very intriguing and amusing one.

We knew that there were a lot more sports being played around the world than just football, basketball and cricket. And our instincts on this were entirely correct. Even when we limited our search to national sports or those recognised as national pastimes, we were amazed at what we discovered. Who knew, for example, that the national sports of Mongolia are wrestling, archery and horse racing—and that they’re known as the “three manly sports”?

We do now.

And so do you.

But you may not know that the national sport of the Bahamas is . . .? So, download a PDF of our quiz now, and see how global your knowledge of national sports is. We guarantee: You’ll be surprised.

Why We’re Still Laughing

Years ago a colleague of ours, when learning that we were structuring a quiz for our readers, advised sternly, “Well, you’d better make it easy!” We, of course, did exactly the opposite. Oh, sure, we put a few easy ones in here to buttress your confidence. But then, how about listing both wrestling and oiled wrestling? Tricky, wasn’t it? And how about Canada having two national sports? Canada! We’re not sure whether it’s because Canadians can’t make up their minds or just like sports a lot.

And we did learn a few more things along the way about national sports and pastimes that, frankly, we’re still chuckling about.

No, not Polo—Pato!

Many Argentinians would assume that football—that is, of the fleet-footed, shorts-wearing, Diego Maradona kind—was their national sport. Perhaps you would, too. However, we’d all be wrong. By legislative fiat the national sport of Argentina is pato. You mean, polo, a game people correctly associate with the superb horsemen of the nation? Well, no. We mean a sport which also involves some fancy moves on horseback, but there’s a duck in it. And we don’t mean that competitors physically duck, there’s an actual live duck which is an important part of the proceedings.

Formally, the national recognition of pato dates from 1953. However, the game has been popular in Argentina for centuries, as this account from 1710 from a French engineer named Amadeo Freizer tells us: “I witnessed a party in which the commissioners of two Spanish men both called Pedro had a big celebration in a village located in Talcahuano, near the one where we were staying. After hearing mass they rode their horses in order to chase the hen, just as the goose is run in France except for the following differences: Everybody trampled down onto the player that had managed to get the hen’s head in order to grab it and take it before the one in honour of whom the party had been given. While galloping, they bumped into each other so as to grab the hen’s head from the opposing team, and while still running they picked up everything they had dropped on the way.”

Evidently, there’s been a change of fowl, as you can see, and probably a bit has, as they say, “suffered in the translation.” But you get the picture, right?

Say Cheese!

Bleacher Report’s “The Nine Most Unusual Popular Sports in the World” led us to some very interesting crannies of information. One of them was the fetchingly titled “cheese-rolling.” We actually didn’t see how this could be a sport—not initially. But apparently the human athletic impulse is formidable, even Homeric in its intensity, and we do now.

“The rules are very simple,” it’s reported. “Someone throws a cheese wheel down the hill, and hundreds of people stampede after it. The first person who gets the cheese and crosses the finish line gets to keep the cheese. The biggest event is the annual Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling and Wake held in England.”

For an excruciatingly funny video capturing Cooper’s Hill in all its marvellous competitiveness, may we recommend this YouTube video of Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling.

The same reporter goes on to opine: “I’m not too sure I want cheese that’s been thrown down a hill, though.” What an amateur, veteran cheese-rollers would note! Actually, that very cheese is considered something of a delicacy in Merrie Olde England, particularly when washed down with a robust ale at the nearby Frog and Fiddle pub (or someplace like it). All right, we’re kidding.

Or are we?


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2 Comments about National Sports: The Quiz, and the Most Unusual

  1. Pingback: Taste by Four Seasons - Serving up the best in global food & wine

  2. Hemant Mahlawat says:

    Hi! I want to participate in ur quiz shown on national . I really hve great knowledge; plz gve me a chance to take part in your prestige quiz. It would be ur great pleasure to accede to my request. Thanks.

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