Sometimes it gets weird at Reuters…..

21 Aug 2015

After 17 years at Reuters, I recently became the Global Head of Sports and Strategic Products for the Reuters News Agency. My job is focused on making sure that Reuters is able to deliver the raw materials that help thousands of publishers cover the sports world for their audiences.  I’m very proud to be helping Reuters carry a legacy that started well over a century ago, delivering world class coverage of the biggest sporting events.  And yes, it’s as fun as it sounds.

Of course the vast majority of our attention is paid to the most popular and largest sporting events, but it’s also important for our customers to have access to a wide breadth of coverage.  We were reminded of this recently, when the International Olympic Committee recognized Ultimate Frisbee as a sport, putting it on a path towards inclusion in a future Olympic event.

That decision also helped inspire this post.  You see, one unexpected side effect of my new role is a sudden urge to learn about the lesser known sports Reuters has covered, and then, against their will, force anyone within listening distance to learn about them too.

For instance, did you know about our Elephant Polo coverage?  You might have never seen it, but you can guess what it is.

How about Korfball? No idea right? Well Korfball is actually too main stream for me to get into here.

Underwater Ice Hockey? You’re probably thinking of Underwater Hockey. Totally different sport. Seriously. You’ll see.

Because those in the office here in Times Square have started giving me a wide berth for fear of another lecture on the more obscure rules of a Sauna Marathon, I’m taking to the internet to show off how much I’ve learned.  So without further delay, in ascending order, here are the 7 sports I’m rooting for to become the next Ultimate Frisbee:

Elephant Polo

Here it is. The “biggest sport in the world” doesn’t really need much explanation.

A player from PricewaterhouseCoopers Team, challenges players from the Audemars Piguet Team, during the opening match of 11th King's Cup Elephant Polo Tournament in Hua-HinFootgolf

Let’s start this nice and easy.  You know Football.  You know Golf.  Just put them together and you have Footgolf.  Put away the clubs, widen the holes, break out the soccer ball and kick.

Patrick Wooten holds the flag as his son Thomas misses his putt on the second half of the FootGolf course at Largo Golf Course in Largo, Florida*Censored*

There is really enough material here for a whole other blog post (but by now we all know that’s not happening).  Apparently you can pretty much turn any sport into a new sport by simply shedding the uniform. Reuters has covered everything from Naked Bike Riding, to the World Pole Dancing Championships to something called the “Bare Buns Run”.  We’re keeping it family friendly here, but if you’re a fan of The Wider Image, feel free to do your own research into Sauna Marathons. I guarantee you will learn something.

Spanish fans react while watching the 2010 World Cup match between Spain and Switzerland, in MadridToe Wrestling

You know, like arm wrestling, except with your toes. Legend has it that this idea was born in the pub after a tough World Cup loss, where two men wanted England to become world champion at something, so they invented this sport.  Where else can one root for an athlete known as “The Toeminator”?

Rebecca Birch wins the ladies section of the World Toe Wrestling championships in AshbourneExtreme Ironing

And just about now is when I would warn you it’s about to get weird.  Participants in Extreme Ironing compete to successfully iron their clothes in the most awkward situations to score points from the judges. Have you ever seen a man iron clothes balanced on the peak of a mountain? How about while base jumping? No? I say you can hardly call yourself an educated sports fan until you’ve experienced the thrill and suspense of extreme chores.


We all know Underwater Hockey is just hockey played at the bottom of a pool.  Well this is Underwater ICE Hockey.  In 10 minute periods, and without the use of scuba tanks, in obviously freezing cold water, the teams play hockey with a puck floating against the bottom of the rink. Can we still call Gretzky “The Great One” if he only played on one side of the ice?  But wait, it gets weirder…

Kiehl of team Germany I dives during a match at the Underwater ice hockey Championships in lake WeissenseeChess Boxing

Finally, my very favorite. Combatants take turns playing rounds of chess and fighting rounds of boxing. Alternating until there’s a checkmate… or a knockout.  I’m really hoping for a Mayweather-Pacquiao rematch following this format. How is this not more popular?

Sirci of Italy competes against Russia's Sazhin during their heavyweight World Championship chessboxing match in Moscow

Well that wraps up a view into the lighter side of the job here. Believe it or not, there is quite a bit more in the archives to tell you about, but I just found an archive video from the 1987 World Cheese Rolling Championships …

Rob Schack, Global Head of Sports & Strategic Projects

Photographer credits: Sukree Sukplang, Scott Audette, Susana Vera, Darren Staples, Miro Kuzmanovic, Michael Dalder, Maxim Shemetov

Visit Reuters Pictures to browse and license photography from around the globe.

  • Andrei Charnou

    Congrats, Rob! BTW, the article is hilarious )