Some people are competitive enough to do anything to win a competition, no matter how dumb it is. Even if it’s something as mundane as a pie-eating contest or an arm-wrestling match, there’s always someone out there who will take it too seriously and make it seem as important as the Super Bowl or the Olympic Games, throwing themselves 100 percent into whatever bizarre task they deem worthy of their mettle.
Or course, there are a lot of stupid contests out there, and some of them can have dire consequences for the participants, who can end up maimed, hospitalised, or even killed, as a direct result of their efforts to win. To prove it, we’ve collected the stories of a dozen die-hards who died hard in some really weird competitions. Scroll down to check them out!
1. The “Draw Muhammad” competition
In 2015 two gunmen opened fire outside the “Muhammad Art Exhibit and Cartoon Contest”, organised by the far-right nationalist group known as The American Freedom Defence Initiative, in the suburb of Garland in Dallas, Texas. The AFDI had organised the event to run in conjunction with another anti-Islamophobia rally. Craven images of the prophet Muhammad are considered deeply profane in Islam, and so the concept of a Muhammad competition would have enraged fundamentalists. One security guard was shot in the ankle, before the two gunmen were killed by a SWAT team.
2. Sauna World Championships
Back in 2010, Vladimir Ladyzhenskiy inadvertently took par in the yearly Sauna World Championships in Finland. Six minutes into the contest, Ladyzhenskiy collapsed, and judges noticed that he’d suffered severe burns on his body. First aid was administered, but it was already too late. Ladyzhensky’s autopsy ruled that he’d died of third-degree burns. His death has been exacerbated by the use of strong painkillers, as well as an anesthetic grease applied to his skin. After Ladyzhensky’s death, the Sauna World Championships were abruptly cancelled for good.
3. The rice ball-eating contest
In 2016, an unnamed 28-year-old man expired while taking part in an onigiri (rice ball) eating contest in Hikone, Shiga Prefecture, in Japan. Event organizer JA Higashibiwako stated that the contestants were given three minutes to cram five onigiri whole into their mouths. The anonymous man suffocated after stuffing the last ball into his mouth.
4. Hands on a hardbody
24-year-old Richard Vega was in the running to win a Nissan car at a contest in Longview, Texas. Police reported that Vega had guzzled a significant amount of caffeinated beverages, before taking his hands off the vehicle shortly before a restroom break. Vega then broke into a nearby K-Mart and grabbed a shotgun and ammunition from the sporting section. He then proceeded to shoot himself in front of stunned police officers. Vega was reportedly not depressed, and his suicide was stated to have been inexplicable.
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