Nomad games


Are we all ready for something completely different? I’ll nominate the World Nomad Games, recently concluded in Kyrgyzstan.

We’ve all heard stories of the years of tireless training and dedication required of athletes who aspire to take part in olympic competitions. To compete in the World Nomad Games, in contrast, you simply sign up online. Perhaps the nature of the events serves to limit the number of participants. Not everyone has an appetite for bare-chested horseback wrestling, bone tossing, or dead goat polo.


If I had to choose, I think I’d try the bone tossing (called ordo), which involves throwing a chunk of cow bone into a dirt circle, in an effort to dislodge smaller pieces of sheep bone. It doesn’t sound nearly as dangerous as the other events. The dead goat polo (kok-boru) is described by some as the most dangerous sport in the world. I think I’d hesitate to watch it, let alone try playing it. It’s not a favorite with animal rights activists, but the winning team gets to eat the goat, so I guess it could be thought of as a creative method of meat tenderizing.

This New York Times article includes some great photographs, and more details about the Nomad Games. If you’ve been looking around for a new sport to follow, perhaps you’ll find it in Kyrgyzstan.


[Images: Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times]


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