The Belly Flop World Championships

By Doug Williams
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The Belly Flop World Championships

Doug Williams
 
 
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Yes indeed, there is such a championship, and it is held in Norway. The belly flop is something that most of us have tried to avoid when showing off to our friends.  But now it has its own set of athletes, and the sport is gaining interest across Europe. The unusual contest is called dødsing, which translates as “death diving”. It is an extreme sport and is unlikely to be seen in any upcoming Olympic Games.

The basic idea of the sport is to leap off 10 meter (33 feet) high boards with your arms and legs held in an X and maintain the position as long as possible. Before impact, the divers curl up their bodies to prevent injuries. The judges take into account factors such as speed, height, and power of the jump, originality, and amount of spray produced.

Belly Flop Contest – Author: Prayitno – CC BY 2.0
Belly Flop Contest – Author: Prayitno – CC BY 2.0

However, the eventual winner is invariably the person who can stay flat the longest. It doesn’t take long for a field of contestants to be whittled down to a bare handful over a series of rounds. Many of the divers walk away with a few bruises, but they all say it’s worth it.

It is thought the sport was invented in the 1960s in Oslo, probably with kids showing off to their friends. The first championship was a small affair with only six divers and about twice that number of spectators. In 2011 The International Dødsing Association was formed, and the sport has taken off from there.

Bellyflop! #PoolParty – Author: Carol – CC BY 2.0
Bellyflop! #PoolParty – Author: Carol – CC BY 2.0

The World Dødsing Championship is held at Frognerbadet, and it is a big event with nearly 100 divers and thousands of people watching. Diver Arne Veim Haugland has spoken of how it is both a fun and challenging sport.  You do not have to be a super athlete to compete, you just need style and the guts to perform the jump.

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