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The Akron Beacon Journal tells the story of the Great University of Akron pingpong hoax:

Local history: Fake pingpong team pulls off hoax at University of Akron in 1970s
ohio.com

The University of Akron table-tennis team created a national sensation in the 1970s by compiling a winning record without playing a single game. Submitting articles about a pingpong team that didn't exist, UA students pulled off an outrageous hoax against the Buchtelite newspaper... The writers peppered their stories with details about flagrant fouls and trying conditions: A foe threw ice chips on a table, a player hurt his knee, a coach got kicked out after protesting a referee's call, rowdy fans interrupted a game... The Zips' crowning triumph was at the fictional Northwestern Open Table Tennis Tournament in Evanston, Ill., where UA defeated Ohio University and Notre Dame while a TV crew supposedly filmed the event for ABC's Wide World of Sports. The Buch­telite published a 41-inch article about the title — and it overshadowed March Madness... Stein, Nelson and Sekerak took a team photo with their "championship trophy" — actually a bowling trophy turned sideways to disguise its purpose. They borrowed it from ABC Trophy off Case Avenue.

Categories: Sports
Posted by Alex on Tue Apr 10, 2012
Comments (0)
Brian Chapman reports the start of an interesting Olympics 2012 rumor on his Legends & Rumors blog:
Enormous Olympic rings have started popping up in London. There's a set at St Pancras, another recently floated down the Thames, and a third set will be suspended at Tower Bridge.

We're told that there's something special about one of the rings. Someone involved in their construction had a bit of a downer on the whole Olympics in London thing. So he took a shit inside one of the rings. And then had it welded shut.

Categories: Gross, Sports, Urban Legends
Posted by Alex on Sat Apr 07, 2012
Comments (1)
The following photo and caption has recently begun to circulate online. It's all over Facebook.

bullfighter

"And suddenly, I looked at the bull. He had this innocence... that all animals have in their eyes, and he looked at me with this pleading. It was like a cry for justice, deep down inside of me. I describe it as being like a prayer - because if one confesses, it is hoped, that one is forgiven. I felt like the worst shit on earth."


This photo shows the collapse of Torrero Alvaro Munera, as he realized in the middle of his last fight... the injustice to the animal. From that day forward he became an opponent of bullfights.

I haven't been able to figure out where the photo originally came from, but it definitely doesn't show Alvaro Munera's moment of epiphany during a bullfight. Munera is an ex-bullfighter who's become an animal-rights activist. But (as described in an article about him on open.salon.com) his career ended not from a moment of zen communion with a bull, but rather in 1984 when a bull caught him and tossed him in the air, resulting in a spinal-cord injury that left Munera paralyzed.

I've seen another version of the photo and quotation that attributes the words to "Fabian Oconitrillo Gonzalez". But I have no idea who he might be. If he's a bullfighter, I haven't been able to find out anything about him.
Categories: Animals, Photos/Videos, Sports
Posted by Alex on Wed Mar 07, 2012
Comments (4)
<# some text #>
Mark Hayward
A pile of dirt may not be worth much money. But a pile of dirt that was once beneath Yankee Stadium could potentially have more value. Especially if that dirt was packed into key chains and other corporate gift items and then sold at a big markup in sporting goods stores.

That was the pitch Mark Hayward used to convince a victim to give him $35,000 -- as an investment in this Yankee dirt scheme. As far as I can tell (the news report isn't really clear) Hayward never had the dirt in question. Eventually the victim got suspicious. And now Hayward is facing charges of first-degree larceny. Link: ctpost.com.
Categories: Business/Finance, Con Artists, Sports
Posted by Alex on Wed Jan 18, 2012
Comments (0)
Brian Cronin has an article posted on the LA Times site discussing the question of whether Jack Dempsey "loaded" his gloves during his title fight against Jess Willard on July 4, 1919. Apparently this has been a lingering controversy in boxing ever since the fight itself, inspired by the fact that Dempsey didn't just defeat Willard, but absolutely pummeled him senseless, knocking him down seven times in the first round alone.

There are two theories of how Dempsey might have loaded his gloves. The first is that Dempsey coated his hands with plaster of paris, so that he was essentially hitting Willard with cement blocks. But as Boxing Illustrated discovered when they tested this theory, plaster of paris would have cracked the first time Dempsey hit Willard, causing huge damage to Dempsey's own hands with each successive hit. However, Dempsey's hands seemed fine after the fight. It's also hard to believe that neither Willard nor his managers would have noticed the plaster of paris when they inspected Dempsey's hands before the fight.

The second theory is that Dempsey had an iron spike hidden in his gloves. But this should have caused far more damage to Willard than was actually the case.

So Cronin concludes there's no evidence Dempsey loaded his gloves. The guy was just a really powerful fighter. (Incidentally, Cronin has an entire site devoted to analyzing sports urban legends.)
Categories: Sports
Posted by Alex on Thu Sep 01, 2011
Comments (2)
From Wired.com:

On September 5, Saskatchewan fisherman Sean Konrad caught a 48-pound, world-record rainbow trout. The fish came from Lake Diefenbaker, where trout genetically engineered to grow extra-big escaped from a fish farm nine years ago...
Technically known as triploids, they’re designed with three sets of chromosomes, making them sterile and channeling energies normally spent reproducing towards growth.
In 2007, on a message board of the International Game Fish Association, the angling world’s record- and ethics-keeping body, some fishermen argued that triploids were unnatural, as divorced from the sport’s history as Barry Bonds’ home runs were from Hank Aaron’s.
The IGFA refused to make a distinction between natural and GM fish. Neither would they distinguish between species caught in their traditional waters and those introduced into new, growth-friendly environments, such as largemouth bass whose extra-large ancestors were imported from Florida to California in the 1960s.
But to purists, there was a difference between transplantation and outright manufacture.
The Konrad brothers’ response on the message board was curt: “Stop crying and start fishing.”

Big Gary, the Museum's Deputy Curator in Charge of Fish, says: "I'm voting 'cheat' on this one, but it's an interesting debate nonetheless."
Categories: Animals, Sports
Posted by Alex on Mon Sep 21, 2009
Comments (14)
The latest viral video going around is titled "Hot Girl Pulls Off Insane Golf Trick Shot." Is it real? I'm not sure, but I don't see why it couldn't be. The trick doesn't seem that insane to me.

Categories: Sports, Videos
Posted by Alex on Fri Jul 10, 2009
Comments (17)
Two days ago Boing Boing posted about the discovery of a pair of 116-year-old basketball shoes:

The shoes were manufactured by the Colchester Rubber Company which shut down in 1893. Vintage clothing dealer Gary Pifer paid 50 cents for them at an estate sale in Vista, California. From CafeTerra:
"In a instant, I knew this discovery would be re-writing basketball and sneaker history, as these sneakers are 25 years older than the 1917 Converse All-Stars", added Pifer. The Colchester Rubber Co. was located in Colchester, Connecticut and was in business from 1888 to 1893.

People leaving comments quickly pointed out that the story was almost certainly fake, since basketball was only invented in 1891, and it's unlikely that a) a shoe would have been made for the sport one year later, and b) that the shoe would survive in near-perfect condtion.

It turns out that the story is a marketing gimmick (hoax) to sell retro basketball sneakers. I'm not sure how long this 116-year-old basketball shoe story has been circulating around, but I don't think it's recent.
Categories: Fashion, Sports
Posted by Alex on Mon Jul 06, 2009
Comments (6)
The latest viral hoax photos circulating online claim to show shots of the Panama Women's Cricket Team. It doesn't take a degree in Photoshop to realize these women's buttocks have been digitally altered.

Fool Blogger has tracked down what appears to be one of the unaltered originals.

The Fakes:


The Real One:


What I don't know is whether this actually is the Panama Women's Cricket Team. A google search for "Panama Women's Cricket Team" simply brings up these photos.
Categories: Body Manipulation, Photos/Videos, Sports
Posted by Alex on Fri May 15, 2009
Comments (28)
Too close to the real thing. Yachting Monthly reports that the April Fool it inserted into its current issue ruffled a few feathers:

In our bid to insert some authentication into the prank about children competing in world sailing stunts we used the fictitious name: Ocean Youth Association. We did not foresee that by Googling this name - which according to Caroline White of the Ocean Youth Trust many people did - her own organisation and that of the Association of Sail Training Organisations came up. Both these organisations were then contacted by folks seeking clarification.

Unfortunately, they don't seem to have the April Fool itself on their site.
Categories: April Fools Day, Sports
Posted by Alex on Mon Mar 16, 2009
Comments (0)
If memory serves (and it might not), there was once a discussion on the site about the maximum height a person could jump without a running start. Cody Ransom of the Yankees has to be in the upper percentile of the jumping range. Apparently this video is not doctored in any way.

Categories: Sports, Videos
Posted by Alex on Mon Mar 16, 2009
Comments (10)
A couple of people emailed me about this, though I think it's more a case of miscommunication rather than a deliberate hoax.

A little over a week ago the media reported that 56-year-old Jennifer Figge had become the first woman to swim the Atlantic. But then people started to do the math, and realized that if she had really swum 2100 in 25 days, then she had performed a superhuman feat.

Two days later the AP published a retraction, quoting Figge's spokesman who stated she swam only 250 miles, not 2100. Which is why it seems more like a case of miscommunication to me. Figge didn't appear to go out of her way to promote the claim she had swum the Atlantic.

To find a real long-distance swimming hoax, you need to go back to 1927 when Dorothy Cochrane Lange claimed to have swum the English Channel, but a few days later admitted she had only swum the first and last mile. Her motive, she said, was to prove how easy it was to pull off such a hoax.
Categories: Sports
Posted by Alex on Tue Feb 17, 2009
Comments (4)
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