For 17 days this summer, the world will take a break from the financial crisis, political upheaval, and maybe even the U.S. presidential mud-slinging to watch as 10,000 athletes from over 205 countries compete for the gold. What began as a modest amateur competition in Athens a century ago has become the ultimate global test of speed, strength, and patriotism -- not to mention commercialism. That said, while running, swimming, and gymnastics are all well and good, we at FP are of the opinion that there are a few events missing from the official list. And so, infused with the Olympic spirit of citius, altius, fortius ("faster, higher, stronger"), we humbly suggest something a bit "weirder, messier, and more-dead-goaty." Leaving the Latin to better scholars, here are 14 less heralded sports from around the world we'd like to see in the next Olympics.
1. Pacu Jawi
In the traditional West Sumatran game of pacu jawi -- or mud-cow racing -- members of the Minangkabau tribe have managed to combine surfing with bull riding for a sport that's a wonder to watch. With bare feet balanced on a lightweight wooden plow, jockeys attempt to steer two sprinting cows tied loosely together by their tails through flooded rice paddies. Hygienic it's not: Besides the spray of mud and cow patties, to direct the surging animals in a straight path, jockeys frequently bite the tails as they race chariot-style. Held at the beginning of each rice-harvesting season, some 500 to 700 cows are typically needed for this show of both human and animal strength. The best-performing cows are sold in auctions to local farmers immediately afterward.