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The World's Craziest Contests

The One-Foot High Kick, Fairbanks, AK

The Challenge: This gravity-defying contest asks an athlete to kick a suspended object with one foot (sometimes as high as a basketball net), and land on the floor using that same foot, to demonstrate superior balance.

The Scene: The annual Eskimo-Indian Olympics, which the kick is a part of, features events that may seem offbeat to outsiders but implement age-old traditions that derive from surviving in a severe environment. A high kick was used by a hunter or whaler to send a visual message to villagers that an animal had been caught or that wildlife was nearby. (The Eskimo Stick Pull, another event, represents pulling a seal from the ice.) Fairbanks has been home to these Olympics (held in July) since their creation in 1961 for every year but one, when Anchorage was granted hosting rights.

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