Top ten things you didn’t know about hurdling

We at the Tufts Daily Arts department are always shocked to find out that people read our content! Last week, our Top Ten included a delicate slight against hurdling as a sport. A few Tufts hurdlers had many things to say about this. Turns out that hurdling is a real thing — who knew?! So, in order to quell any sort of bad blood, the Daily Arts department wants to honor the art of hurdling with a top ten dedicated to the sport. So sit back, relax and get ready to learn about the sport most call, “America’s favorite pastime.”

10. Animals in hurdling: When Iceland presented a deer, “Lil’ Ida,” as their hurdling contestant in the 1948 Olympics and she won the gold, hurdling officials added an addendum to the Official Hurdling rule-book: humans only.

9. Hurdling abroad: Because of poor translations, countries in Eastern Europe have taken up “turtling.” Contestants collect turtles, stack them high and attempt to leap over them. Results vary. PETA has been marching against “turtling” since 1989.

8. The origins of hurdling: Hurdling had a sordid past, beginning in Salem where it was used as a way to discover whether or not a hysterical woman was a witch. After stacking up piles of wood in preparation to burn them at the stake, Salem officials forced these women to try to run over the piles of wood. If they made it across, they were a witch. If not, they were also a witch.

7. Etymology: The term “hurdling” is derived from the early Icelandic word “høurtlē” which roughly translates to “sheep jumping over fence.” Indeed, sheep play a large part in hurdling to this day. Look for Patty, the ceremonial sheep flag bearer, at the next hurdling world cup.

6. Women in hurdling: Women were banned from competitive hurdling until 1993 because the action of jumping would force them to show too much ankle. 

5. Notable hurdlers: Tony Monaco, the president of Tufts University, was once a hurdler. However, after growing self-conscious at the sight of himself in short-shorts, Monaco decided on a life of academia. 

4. Hurdling Hall of Fame: People had high hopes when the Hurdling Hall of Fame (HHOF) opened in 1974. Unfortunately, the HHOF had to close later that year because of low revenues. It appeared that visitors were jumping over the turnstiles at a run, believing that this was a part of the visit. 

3. Obscure sports unite: Due to the overnight success of fellow obscure sport, curling, during the Winter Olympics, the United States Executive Hurdling Board decided to move their sport from the track to the ice. Countless concussions ensued, however, it was the most watched broadcast of hurdling ever.  

2. Life after hurdling: Because of the flexibility that hurdling demands, most hurdlers go into jazz and contemporary dance afterwards — apparently, hurdlers also have an affinity for shiny gloves and bowler hats.

1. Hurdling is awesome: Hurdling is really hard, and only the coolest kids do it, so respect them. We love hurdlers. So much. We l0ve you, hurdlers!


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