Thumbs Up to the Thumb Wrestling Championships

If you’re like me, you’re well into the staples of sport. Football leagues and big games, perhaps a bit of rugby here, an athletics championships there. The Olympics.  Boxing. Essentially mainstream sports where ‘you know what you’re getting on the tin’ so to speak. Of course though once in a while something will come on that’s a little different and catches your attention. The soap box challenge for instance, is a sporting challenge and event that both entertains and yet has a competitive aspect to it.

If you’re open to a broader range of sports though, you start to stray into competitive and yet slightly madcap sports like Thumb Wrestling. In this BBC Sport video we explore this weird and wonderful sport during the Thumb Wrestling World Championships in Norfolk. The competition is best of three rounds and a ‘professional thumb ring’ is used (well, would you expect anything less!).  To a cry of “1,2,3,4, I declare a thumb war” the duel then begins.

4-time world champion Paul Browse guides us through this wacky world, from training regimes (lots of thumb ups!) and the thrill of lifting that thumbs up trophy!

“If you’ve not got a big strong thumb, then a small thin, agile thumb is just as good as that” enthuses the worldbeater!





Iconic Racing Pundit John McCririck Dies

If you live in the UK and are a fan of racing, you’ll certainly know who John McCririk is. The face and voice of horse racing punditry over the years, McCririk’s style, a combination of enthusiastic and pantomime agitation, made him one of the most recognised people in racing.

In later life he tried his hand at other challenges, one of which was memorable appearance on Celebrity Big Brother UK (twice – in 205 and 2010), other included Question Time and the Weakest Link. Not shy of controversy, he started his career in racing as an ‘illegal street bookmaker’, before going legit on course.

An award-winning journalist with the Sporting Life, John joined ITV in 1981 before moving to Channel 4 in 1984 where he remained until 2013. He passed away on Friday, July 5, aged 79 and will be sadly missed by many, including his wife Jenny, who he affectionately called ‘The Booby’.

The Bullseye Bazaar

If you’re UK based and of a certain age, you’re bound to have watched the gameshow Bullseye while growing up, and likely to have chanced upon the satellite TV reruns that are still showing to this very day. The premise was simple, teams of two took part in rounds that involve both general knowledge and darting ability (or lack therefore of). The winning pair of contestants then picked up prizes on ‘Bully’s Prize Board’. These more often than not come across as a combination of hand me downs and stuff you might find in a closing down sale. These prizes can then be put on the line for a shot at the star prize – a prize that’s only revealed upon winning it. To win this, they have to score 101 of more with six darts.

Exciting stuff, right? Sometimes the star prize was a trip to a Caribbean island or something along those lines. Who wouldn’t be chuffed to win that! On other occasions, it was a caravan or car. Again, a nice prize to win, even if you do have to saw it in two, or arm wrestle for it, since there are two contestants.

Beyond those prizes though, we start to stray into territory that is far more bizarre. One of the most frequently featured star prizes was a speed boat. As elated as winners may have been to have won, it does make you wonder how the contestants, some of whom may live on a council estate for instance, got to enjoy their top of the range speed boat in real life. Perhaps they zoomed down the side of a high rise, or did lengths in the local swimming pool. The real sh!t sandwich of a prize though, was a prize I only ever saw offered once.

Take into account that 80s fashions were as dodgy as they get. Notorious for it. Even when people made an effort they looked like they’d crawled out of a bush. And that’s just those featuring in pop videos. The likes of Bullseye contestants certainly don’t appear to have worked themselves into a panic over what to wear for their once in a lifetime appearance on the show. Throw on any old rag, was the order of the day. Keeping that in mind, the most tragic yet hilarious star prize on Bullseye was…… a fashion spree!

Scottish Wrestling Champ Dies Aged 36

Sadness and disbelief spread through wrestling circles on Wednesday as much loved Scottish wrestling star Adrian McCallum, 36, passed away. The sudden death of the talented athlete came the day after the wrestler, nicknamed Lionheart, posted a quote from the Ricky Gervais show Afterlife:

“One day you will eat your last meal. You will smell your last flower, you will hug your friend for the last time. You might not know it’s the last time, that’s why you must do everything you love with passion.”

The wrestler, originally from Coventry, was the Insane Champion Wrestling (ICW) heavyweight champion and had previously appeared on TNT and WWE events. In 2004 he broke his neck in two places but fought a long road to recovery to get back to the sport he loved. He was a veteran of wrestling and was owner of the Ayrshire-based Pro Wrestling Elite organisation. The social media condolences of those who knew him, paint a picture of a kindhearted and ambitious individual. He’ll be sadly missed.