The wonderful world of sports has given us numerous moments of joy and pleasure. We love to cheer at the rare moments when our favorite team provides us with glorious performances and outstanding displays of sheer brilliance. While many of these rare occurrences happen in popular sports like football, soccer or basketball these moments also happen in less popular sports that are performed by an individual alone. This list will focus on some incredible performances that are pulled off by athletes in what I call alternative sports. The following clips feature inspiring achievements by people who are not your every day heroes but even if you don’t usually appreciate these kinds of sport events you will certainly appreciate these one-of-a-kind moments of pure brilliance.
Amazing Feat: Chris Cole 50+ attempts at a 360 Flip
Chris Cole is a professional skateboarder who is probably best known for his appearances in the highly successful Skate video games for the XBox 360 and for winning the coveted Thrasher’s Magazine Skater of the Year Award twice. In this clip he tries to execute a 360 Flip down a brutal staircase in San Fransisco, California. While I stopped counting his attempts the comments on the YouTube page tell us that he tried this trick for more than 50 times in a row. Many skateboarders would have quit after a few attempts due to the considerable impact he has to suffer each time landing on the concrete but not Chris Cole. His determination is truly inspiring.
Amazing Feat: Mat Hoffman World Record Air
Mat ‘The Condor’ Hoffman might be one of the most recognizable characters in extreme sports history. Few others have influenced the BMX genre in the way he did as he has invented more than a hundred tricks that are now standard in the genre, as well as appearing in several video games based around his person that helped to bring this sport to a wider audience. In his career he has not only accomplished everything a BMX rider possibly can, but rather pushed the boundaries of the sport far beyond the usual competitive aspect. The clip shows one of his most ridiculous stunts that involves an over-sized ramp that has been build for the sole purpose of setting a new world record in terms of highest air, a motor-cross bike that helped him gain enough speed and a lot of courage. If you wonder how dangerous this stunt actually is then let me tell you that he tore his spleen and almost died when he tried to perform this feat a few years earlier.
Amazing Feat: Tiger Woods Chip at the 2005 Masters
I’m pretty sure that some of you have already seen this clip before. With more than 400,000 views on YouTube it is one of the more viral videos here but when you read the title of this list, this clip just fits perfectly. Tiger Woods faces one of the toughest pitches on the entire course and you just have to love the commentators discussing how difficult it is to even get near the hole. The first minute of this clip show how Tiger analyzes the situation and he definitely looks pained over this shot. The outcome of this shot is sheer brilliance displayed by the greatest golfer of all time. It almost has a commercial feel to it when you see the ball seemingly stopping just inches away from the hole, and the line of the commentator (‘In your life have you ever seen anything like this?’) just sums up this great shot perfectly.
Amazing Feat: Anthony Napolitan Lands First BMX Double Front Flip
Anthony Napolitan is a professional BMX rider who gained notoriety and respect from his fellow peers by pulling off a trick at the 2006 X Games that has never been seen before. He failed the double front flip before, missing a safe landing by a couple of degrees and though every failed attempt at this monstrous ramp almost certainly means injury or worse he seems to be determined to nail this trick in front of the large crowd. In this clip he lands the trick as clean as it gets and seeing this achievement in slow motion just gives you goosebumps.
Amazing Feat: Phil Taylor 9 Dart Finish Twice In One Match
I must admit that I am not a huge fan of darts. I find it rather boring to watch on television and every time I happen to stumble over it while changing channels I seem to see the same guy over and over again. This guy comes from England and is called Phil Taylor. He also happens to be the best darts player who ever lived which comes as no surprise when you consider that he has won the world championship 15 times. In this clip he pulls off of a feat that also has never been seen before. For those of you who don’t know what a 9 Dart finish is let me tell you that first of all, it is extremely difficult, almost bordering on impossible. Comparable to a perfect game in bowling the darts player must finish a single game (or leg) in the minimum amount of shots possible, which is 9. While this finish alone is more than tough Phil Taylor does the impossible and scores two 9 dart finishes in a single match.
Amazing Feat: Annette Obrestads Uncanny Fold at World Series of Poker 2010
Some may argue that poker is not really a sport and they might have a point but everyone who enjoys raising, betting and folding every once in a while will agree that there is a certain competitive aspect to the game that bears a striking resemblance to the other sports you will see on this list. If you have trouble agreeing to this just consider poker as a mental sport and this is definitely within the boundaries of this list’s topic. In this clip you will see young Norwegian professional poker player, Annette Obrestad, who happens to find herself in the middle of several other players at a hand at the World Championship of Poker in 2010. Every recreational poker player knows how hard it is to fold a flopped full house later on in a hand, especially when the board runs out rather unscary, like in this example. This hand is talked about even today in various poker forums and shows the uncanny ability of Obrestad as she just soul-reads his opponents hand perfectly and finds the extremely unlikely but correct fold. Sheer genius for her age.
Category: Motor Cross
Amazing Feat: Travis Pastrana Double Back Flip
Travis Pastrana is yet another professional BMX rider who just happens to be utterly insane. Good for him that his apparent death wish is matched by sheer talent. In this clip he tries to pull off a double back flip and I think I don’t have to mention that this has never been done before, or do I? Prior to this stunt he has told his mother what he is about to try with the words: ‘I’m going to do the double back flip and if something happens just remember I love you and I’m just having fun.’ This clearly shows that a failed attempt at this stunt might easily result in a long hospitalization, if your lucky, that is. The moment when he is up in the air and the whole crowd goes silent in anticipation of the outcome is very chilling and believe me when I tell you that you actually feel very relieved after watching the whole clip.
Amazing Feat: Bob Burnquist 2001 Vert Run at X Games
Bob Burnquist is one of the best known professional skateboarders out there. He was featured in the popular Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater video game series and has been the center of attention due to some of his crazy stunts like successfully going over a loop ramp that had a gap in it or doing a base jump at the Grand Canyon after grinding a specifically designed rail. In this clip you will see him in action at the 2001 X Games doing a vert run that can only be described as mesmerizing. Following the theme of this list you don’t necessarily have to like skateboarding. You might even have a dislike against this sport but either way, you will be blown away by the incredible run that the Brazilian genius pulls off. In the first part of the clip you’ll see Bucky Lasek, a very talent skateboarder in his own right, completing his excellent run that leaves Bob Burnquist as the last skater standing on the ramp with an almost impossible task. In order to beat Lasek he’d have to really show something spectacular in his last run and boy, does he deliver. The commentators just contribute to this clip perfectly and will leave you smiling after 2:35 minutes of the most beautiful display of a skateboarding performance.
Amazing Feat: Ronnie O’Sullivans fastest Maximum Break in Snooker History
Ronnie O’Sullivan is definitely the one when people talk about the thin threshold between brilliance and madness. When he has one of his good days he literally sweeps over the field of competitors leaving them not the slightest chance to win a match of snooker against him. On his good days he delivers relentlessly on the green felt and makes former world champions look like amateurs. But there is another side to him, too. His father is a convicted murderer and currently serves time in prison and it might be some of his genes that are responsible for Ronnies behavior at the table that is often less than gentleman-like. He quits games in the middle of a session, leaving hundreds of paid fans mad at him for ruining their afternoon and he also likes to play left handed to displease his opponents, openly ridicule them, while still crushing their souls on the felt. In this clip you will see a good day. Maybe even the best day this talented man has ever had. In a record 5:20 minutes he manages to clear the whole table, an extremely difficult feat to accomplish but the speed and accuracy of his shots are a beautiful display of raw talent that is unmatched in this sport.
Amazing Feat: Danny Ways Slams and Stomps
During my research I have found many moments in these alternative sports that were uplifting and truly inspiring. You have seen nine of these moments already and in their own right, these video clips are nothing short of spectacular and might or might not send a shiver down your spine. But from the moment on I saw Danny Way in this video clip I knew I had to put him on the top of the list. The clip shows a true skateboard legend going through arguably the most emotional moments of his life. Once again, we find ourselves at the X Games, more specifically at the ridiculously huge ramp. We see Danny going down this monster and his first attempt at performing looks spectacular in all regards, except for the end when he lands on the rail of the monster ramp shin first and bails in shocking fashion. For a few moments he lays still and the last thing anyone in the crowd or any viewer has in mind are the remaining three runs that he could possibly take. But Danny sure has other plans in mind. As the commentator says, this is really a lesson in determination.