The world is full of irreplaceable sports each unique with its own rules and challenges. As spectators, we sit in the stands or watch on television as athletes perform at their sport of choice seamlessly without any effort. But in all actuality, there are very few athletes who haven’t spent their entire lives training and developing their skills. For some sports, keys to success are a special combination of athleticism, agility, and speed, while in other sports it is a matter of staying focused. Some sports require steadiness and patience, whiles others require supreme cardiovascular endurance.
Every sport is challenging in its own right and requires repetition and focus in order to perform at a high level. In respect of sport, here is a list of what some may argue to be among the most difficult sports in the world.
10. Cross Country Running
Most cross country races cover a distance spanning anywhere between 4 to 12 kilometers. It is a combination of a team and individual sport and requires cardiovascular endurance. The sport’s roots can be tracked back to 19 th century England when schools began competing against each other in races as far back as 1837. The first recorded national cross country event took place in southwest London at the Wimbledon Common in 1867. The first international race was in 1903, at the Hamilton Park Racecourse in Scotland. The IAAF World Cross Country Championships was established in 1973, and is design for elite cross country competitors.
9. Freestyle Wrestling
Is one of two styles of wrestling besides Greco-Roman Wrestling that is an Olympic Games event. The object of the sport is to get your opponent to the mat for a victory. The modern variation of freestyle wrestling is one of the four main styles of global wrestling and is believed to have originated as the “catch-as-catch-can” wrestling in England and the United States.
8. Horseback Riding
One of the more popular events in horseback riding is steeple chasing, or vaulting as some call it. Thoroughbred horse racing, or flat racing, is the most popular of the horseback riding sports. Another variation of steeple chasing is known as National Hunt, and requires the horse and rider to jump over obstacles while racing through a track. The international governing body of horseback riding is the International Federation for Equestrian Sports.
7. Bull Riding
Arguably the most popular of the rodeo sports, bull riding requires the rider to stay atop the bull for what is known as “the most dangerous eight seconds in sports.” Bull riding’s roots can be traced back to the Mexican Charreada. The Jaripeo, a hacienda contest, first began back in the 16 th century where the bull was ridden till it stopped bucking or the rider died.
6. Water Polo
A pool-based sport where two teams attempt to score goals by throwing a ball into their opponent’s goal. Teams consist of seven players including a goalie. All players must swim, tread, throw, and catch. It is a brutal sport where players can submerge other players under water and activity beneath the surface can get pretty violent. William Wilson, Scotsman, first drafted rules for a game called “aquatic football” in 1877.
5. Figure Skating
There are many different events for figure skaters, men’s and women’s singles, as well as pair skating and ice dancing. These four main events require skaters and their partners to perform choreographed routines on ice. Figure skaters complete spins, jumps, throw jumps and lifts, among a handful of other movements during their performances. These movements require precision, strength, and mental fortitude.
4. Motor Cross
Is a type of off-road motorcycle racing set in an enclosed race track. The first ever scramble race or modern motocross events took place in 1924, at Camberley, Surrey. There are multiple classes of races depending on the engine size of the bike and the duration of the race. Motor Cross’s origins are dated back to the first quarterly trail of the Auto-Cycle Clubs of 1906 and the Scottish Six Days Trail of 1909.
One of the oldest sports in existence, skiing references can be found in cave paintings in Norway dating back as far as 5000 B.C. Skiing was primarily used for military purposes and transportation in wintery conditions. There are two main genres, Nordic Skiing and Alpine Skiing, which were developed in the 1930s. Races associated with Alpine Skiing include slalom, giant slalom, super-g, and downhill. For Nordic Skiing, events such as Cross-country, telemark, ski touring, skijoring and ski-flying mark the major disciplines.
Yeah most of us can swim, but make no mistake, competitive swimming is one of the hardest sports to compete in. It requires extreme focus on technique and strategy, as well as above average conditioning. It is truly a full-body workout. Swimmers compete using a wide variety of swim strokes including the butterfly stroke, backstroke, breast stroke and freestyle. There are both individual and team events and varying race distances for each type of stroke.
If swimming is a full body workout, than it is safe to say gymnastics is the most complex full-body workout. It requires physical strength, flexibility, coordination, power, balance, agility, grace, and mental toughness. There is a wide range of apparatus and floor exercises including high bar, parallel bar, vault, still rings, pommel horse, uneven bars, and balance beam. Both men and women compete for overall team points as well as individual points. Gymnasts receive points from a panel of judges after completing each exercise.