Top 5 Most Challenging Sports
#5 – American Football
• There aren't too many sports on earth more challenging to play than American football. Despite being played on a 100 yard length field, football is truly a 'game of inches.' As described by Al Pacino's character in the 1999 drama Any Given Sunday,
"The margin for error is so small. One half a step too late or too early, and you don't quite make it. One half second too slow [or] too fast, you don't quite catch it. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They're in every break of the game, every minute, every second... We tear ourselves and everyone else around us to pieces for that inch. We claw with our fingernails for that inch! Because we know, when we add up all those inches, that's gonna make the f*cking difference between winning and losing!... That's football."
The ultimate gladiator sport, football requires not only superior ball skills, but also a warrior mentality. Running full speed in the direction of danger in order to cause a violent collision with another human is unnatural. But in the fall, it's done on a daily basis on football fields across the United States, no matter if there's rain, sleet, hail, or snow.
#4 – Heptathlon
• Seven events in Track and Field:
- 100 meter hurdles
- High jump
- Shot put
- 200 meter dash
- Long jump
- Javelin throw
- 800 meter run
• Competing in one event on an international level is special. But mastering seven different events and competing at the highest level, is otherworldly. Each of the sevens heptathlon events requires intricate technique.
On a five-point scale, athletes are either below average, average, good, great, or elite. Heptathletes range from great to elite in these seven events.
#3 – Ice Hockey
• There's hand eye coordination, then there's hockey eye coordination. Sure, hockey eye coordination is not a thing. But it should be. There is no position on the ice that does not require this skill, and hockey players have taken it to another level.
Hockey players manipulate a miniature puck (disc) while it rockets across a smooth ice surface at speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour. Oh, ad they do this while skating on elevated razor blades. This sport is insane! Like football players, hockey players where pads and a helmet to protect against serious injury. But hockey players frequently lose teeth for a reason – collision remains a foundational element of the sport.
#2 – Biathlon
• Have you ever tried to cross country ski? It wasn't easy, right? How about shooting a rifle, ever done that? Well, the biathlon requires athletes to cross country ski, then stop along the course (while still wearing their skis) to shoot at targets 50 meters away before continuing on the course towards the finish.
Biathletes are among the most fit athletes on planet earth. Fitness level is generally measured by an obscure metric referred to as VO2 Max or maximal aerobic capacity. Biathletes have the highest recorded VO2 Max data of all athletes. This superior oxygen utilization enables biathletes to prevent their heart rate from interfering with rifle shooting after rigorous treks through the snowy wilderness.
#1 – Decathlon
• Ten events in Track and Field:
- pole vault
- high jump
- long jump
- shot put
- 110 meter hurdles
- 100 meter dash
- 400 meter run
- 1500 meter run
• Ten events. TEN! Not much more needs to be written. Like heptathletes, decathletes are great to elite in multiple events. Decathletes run faster, jump higher, and throw farther than most humans.