Adrenaline junkies adore extreme sports. And why wouldn’t they? It’s the thrill of the competition amplified by fear of seriously injuring yourself or even dying. This invokes the body’s resources to shift into overdrive, which is why it is very easy to get addicted to that special high these sports provide. As amazing as the sports are, their history certainly doesn’t lag behind. Join us as we explore the origins of extreme sports.
The term extreme sports referred only to the sports that endangered the participant’s life in the 50s. In fact, Hemingway is often credited with uttering: “There are only three sports: bullfighting, motor racing, and mountaineering; all the rest are merely games.” Truth be told, we are not sure Hemingway actually said this, but you get the sentiment of the times. Extreme sports were viewed as the sports only the brave would partake in.
Though the term was born in the 1950s, it wouldn’t be another 20 years before there was an official organization behind the events. The Dangerous Sports Club was founded to explore the extreme activities people could partake in and call them sports. They are credited with the invention of bungee-jumping, though they have had numerous experiments, including surrealist skiing and hang-gliding over a volcano. The club faced a bit of bad publicity after their founding members got arrested and subsequently acquitted of manslaughter, when a young man was launched from a trebuchet and was supposed to land into a safety net, but fell short of the mark. This means that not only sporting disciplines made it to the final classification – it was enough to be willing to risk your life in a daredevil stunt to be considered an extreme athlete.
Surfing was another activity that was born in the 70s, though its origins date back to the 18th century. Surfing game birth to skateboarding and windsurfing and other sports soon followed suit, by slightly modifying the equipment and the challenge. Skiing made way for snowboarding and water skiing.
There are numerous extreme sports and they don’t always involve a troublesome mortality rate. Extreme sports quickly became inclusive of sports that invoke the thrill and fear, rather than simply endangering life. Extreme sports are popularized by TV and such legends as Tony Hawk and Bam Margera, the latter being the star of several reality TV shows where he often does something ridiculous and/or dangerous.
To compete in these sports, you need to possess the impressive athletic ability, creativity, and bravery, in order to perfectly execute the imagine maneuver that would make the existing discipline even more impressive to watch. It is not unheard of for sports to become a combination of two or more existing disciplines. This adds to the overall excitement of the sport itself.
Why do people do it? Apart from the prestige of accomplishing a daredevil feat, there is the thrill, the adrenaline spike that makes the participants experience their surroundings in a more intense way, made possible by their body’s reaction to imminent danger. We usually refer to these people as adrenaline junkies, as everyday life activities become too mundane for them, making them seek out the next challenge.