Amazing Sports Records You Had No Idea Even Existed
Not every record-setting performance is top story material, even if the threshold is low enough that Joey Chestnut shotgunning dozens of hot wings ends up on your local news—or even national news.
The records sport fans do hear about year after year are those once-in-a-lifetime, immortalized-forever categories: single-season home runs, the perfect NFL season, Eric Dickerson's rushing record, Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game and other seemingly impossible feats.
And when the unbreakable starts to look vulnerable, the sports world is mesmerized.
In the meantime, there are plenty of records, some newly established and others long held, that may not get the ticker treatment on SportsCenter but are plenty amazing nonetheless.
From the odd nugget buried deep in sports almanacs to the virtual basement of online databases of stats geeks, these are amazing sports records you may have never heard of.
Longest Offensive Drive in a Single NCAA Football Game
Navy gained its reputation as a "cupcake" that teams hate to play because of the throwback, triple-option offensive attack installed by former head coach Paul Johnson in 2002.
The scheme makes the forward pass a truly rare sight, so it’s not surprising that the Midshipmen hold the record for the single longest offensive drive in an NCAA football game.
Navy churned turf for an astounding 14:26 in the 2004 Emerald Bowl against New Mexico.
Leave it to the Germans to come up with a fun free “sport” like underwater spear gun catch. In September 2009, Joe Alexander set the world record for most spears caught from a spear gun underwater in one minute, doing so live on the television show ZDF Fernsehgarten.
Alexander was able to catch seven spears fired at him, which doesn’t sound quite as impressive as it should. Although, it would probably be more powerful if any of us had ever had spears shot at us from a speargun underwater.
The again, this guy is pretty good at catching sharp objects out of the water too. Two years later, Alexander set the record for catching 43 arrows out of the air, which were shot at him by an archer.
Harlem Globetrotter Sinks Record-Setting Basket
Last November, the Harlem Globetrotter’s Thunder Law broke the world record for longest basketball shot, burying the shot from a distance of 109 feet, nine inches.
Law’s heave bested the previous record by five feet and underscores how absurd it is that any pro player can consistently struggle from the free-throw line.
Upside Down Archery
In November 2001, Claudia Gomez of Argentina set the Guinness World Record for the farthest arrow shot using the feet. She shot a bow and arrow accurately into a target from over 16 feet on the set of Zheng Da Zong Yi, a television show in Beijing, China.
A pretty impressive feat (or "feet"—har har), but it’s one “sport” in which Gomez doesn’t likely have a lot of competition in.
The Baseball Magnet
In 1897, St. Louis Cardinals pitcher John Grimes set what must have been a very unfortunate record—for obvious reasons—when he hit six hitters.
You would think that after the first, I don’t know, three bean balls, he would have pulled himself out of the rotation—for the sake of self-preservation.
Fastest Marathon Dressed as a Film Character (Female)
The Virgin London Marathon has one of the most awesome promotions ever—run the race in costume and you could set a new world record (representatives from Guinness are on hand).
In 2010, runner Alisa Vanlint became the fastest woman to ever complete a marathon dressed as a film character.
Vanlint finished the race in 3 hours, 53 minutes, 40 seconds in a costume that surely caused at least one man in his thirties to suffer a heat stroke: a bikini-clad Princess Leia, as depicted in the Jabba the Hutt scene from The Return of the Jedi.
Skateboarding Bulldog Rolls
In July 2009, an English Bulldog by the name of Tillman rolled himself into Guinness World Record fame by covering a 100-meter stretch in a parking lot at the X Games XV in Los Angeles.
Tillman made it all that way on the skateboard in 19.678 seconds. That's further and faster than most people can make it on a skateboard!
Swim Fin Hurdling
As if jumping hurdles wasn’t already difficult enough, strapping on a pair of swim fins beforehand really ups the challenge significantly. Both a man and woman have sprinted themselves into the record book.
In December 2010, Veronica Torr (who is seen in the attached video) of New Zealand set the record for the fastest 100-meter hurdles while wearing swim fins on a live special from Beijing. She completed the course in 18.523 seconds.
Two years prior, in September 2008, Christopher Irmscher of Germany set the male record, completing the course in 14.82 seconds.
Fastest Mile While Dribbling a Basketball, with a Twist
Hauling ass for a mile while dribbling a basketball requires the kind of stamina and sustained hand-eye coordination that most of us lack. If most people couldn’t accomplish that on their own two feet, imagine how far the odds plummet when you throw in a pogo stick.
In August 2013, American Ashrita Furman traveled one mile on a pogo stick while dribbling a basketball in 23 minutes, 2.91 seconds. The event took place at the Queens College athletics track in Flushing, New York, and earned her a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Soccer Referee Makes the Pitch Bleed with Red Cards
If there was ever time when a euphemism that means the exact of “swallowing their whistles” needed to be invented, it was in 2011, when soccer referee Damian Rubino issued an unprecedented 36 red cards in a match of Argentine fifth division foes Claypole and Victoriano Arenas.
Rubino set the record when the match descended into a brawl (including fans and coaches) that occasionally erupted into bursts of actual soccer, resulting in the dismissal of all 22 players and both coaching staffs.
The fans must have been thrilled.
Man Breaks His Own Basketball Toe-Spinning Record
Be prepared to never be impressed by someone spinning a basketball on his or her finger again! American dreamer Jack Ryan broke the Guinness World Record for spinning a basketball on a toe—9.53 seconds—at the NBA All-Star Jam Session back in February 2008.
Though it doesn’t seem to have been officially updated, the claim has been made that Ryan has since broken his own record. According information posted on YouTube, he improved to 12.33 seconds at the 20th annual Shot For The Cure event in 2011.
Ray Ainsley’s Wild and Wacky U.S. Open
During the 1938 U.S. Open, pro golfer Ray Ainsley lost his marbles on the par-four 16th hole at the Cherry Hills Country Club, when he sent an approach shot into a creek near the green.
Instead of cutting his losses and taking a drop, Ainsley—according to those who witnessed the incident—swung wildly at the ball as it drifted down stream.
After chopping at the water for some period of time, he made contact, sending the ball sailing away from the green and behind a tree, eventually finishing the hole with a PGA record (for a major) 19.
Pitcher Shatters Previous Most Home Runs Allowed Record
Moyer also broke the single-season record for home runs allowed, giving up 44 in 2004 while with the Seattle Mariners.
The Clown Car of Skateboards
When You Go to a Fight and a Hockey Game DOESN'T Break Out
Despite efforts to clean up the game, the NHL has a long history of, if not outright encouraging fighting, largely looking the other way when it happens. Though penalties and fighting are fairly commonplace, there are two record-breaking instances that really take things to another level.
In February 1990, a faceoff between the Los Angeles Kings and Edmonton Oilers resulted in the record for the most total penalties awarded in a single game. The two teams combined for 85 penalties—52 minors, nine 10-minute misconducts, 16 majors and seven game misconducts.
In March 2005, the Philadelphia Flyers and Ottawa Senators threw down with an on-ice brawl that ultimately resulted in the most total penalty minutes in a single game. When all was said and done, 419 minutes worth of penalties had been handed out.
It took the officials more than 90 minutes after the game to sort things out, and by the time they did, 20 players had been ejected. The Flyers finished the game with seven players, the Senators had just six.
Broken Concrete Blocks, Unscathed Raw Egg
Breaking concrete blocks is a difficult task that becomes even more difficult when you attempt to break the blocks without damaging a single raw egg in your hand. Why anyone would ever bother doing that and why it’s a record worth recognizing are both questions for another day.
In November 2010, Germany’s own Joe Alexander, who has already been mentioned on this list for his record-breaking feats in catching sharp objects, broke three single stacks of eight blocks while delicately clutching an egg. While the blocks were crushed, the egg was not.
The Most Epic Blowout in College Football History
In 1916, Georgia Tech hosted the Cumberland College Bulldogs, despite the fact that the school ended its football program before the start of the season.
Yellow Jackets head coach John Heisman threatened to make the school pay a $3,000 forfeit fee if it didn’t show up on game day, so Cumberland rounded up some fraternity brothers and a few other suckers to make the trip to Atlanta.
Georgia Tech obliterated the Bulldogs 222-0 in a game that was mercifully ended after the third quarter.
Long-Haul Backward Unicyclist
In June 1999, American Steve Gordon rode further backward on a unicycle in a single day than most people ever ride frontward on a bicycle.
At Southwestern Missouri State University, Gordon broke the Guinness World Record by riding his unicycle backward for an impressive 68 miles.
Reggie Strickland: The Human Punching Bag
When pro super-middleweight boxer Reggie Strickland lost his last fight October 10, 2005, he retired with the most (known) losses of any fighter in the sports history.
Over his 18-year career, Strickland fought a medically terrifying 363 times, losing 276 fights (25 KOs) with another 17 ending in a draw. He was so prolific, despite his upside record, that Strickland reportedly fought 13 times in a single month.
He was Bizarro Floyd Mayweather and real-life Glass Joe wrapped into one pulverized human being—prolific, yet terrible.
Super Important Soccer Skills
File this under "WTF?"
In April 2009, Marcelo Ribeiro da Silva of Brazil set the Guinness World Record for most T-shirts removed while heading a soccer ball. On the set of a television show in Sao Paulo, he was able to remove 21 shirts while keeping the ball in the air.
How does one even discover such a talent?