Excerpt from the book Sports the Olympics Forgot This book describes 40 sports that ought to be played but aren’t, because I made them up.


One day a peasant discovered a discarded Mongol sword and quickly found out how sharp it was. Once he stopped the bleeding his practical streak emerged and he realized that he could cut most of the vegetables from his garden very easily with the sharp blade. Only the larger potatoes were still difficult to cut – however, the peasant then had a brainwave – if he were sitting on a horse then he would be able to swing a lot harder and with more force and cut the potato in two.

He borrowed his neighbour’s carthorse and sure enough the extra height allowed the sword to cut through the largest potatoes with relative ease – the only problem now was ensuring that the sword didn’t become embedded in the table. As is the way of these things, the neighbour saw the peasant’s technique for cutting the vegetables and thought he could improve upon it. Thus a competition was born that has lasted until the modern day.

The first contest in 1263 was held amongst the citizens of Kazan. In turn, each contestant had to ride up to the table on their own horse and slice ten beetroot and ten potatoes in half making sure that their steed was always moving in a forwards direction. The results of the first few contests have been lost but the winner in 1273 was Alexis Yashin who not only sliced all the vegetables in half but did so the most accurately according to the Slicing Judges.