Strange and Unusual Competitions

  One thing that separates humans from animals is the desire to compete against others. Animals hunt and kill mostly for survival. Humans, on the other hand, since even before the first Ancient Olympic Games, have been racing, fighting, and trying to top each other in all different kinds of ways. Humans are competitive by nature, and sports are a big part of most people's lives. Recently, there have been more and more strange and unusual contests popping up around the globe.

  July 4 is celebrated in America as Independence Day, but another big event happens in New York City. Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest is an annual event that is broadcast on TV. This is where contestants1 try to consume the most hot dogs in 10 minutes. This sounds simple, but there has been a big battle raging between two countries for the championship Mustard2 Yellow Belt. A rather small Japanese man came up with a new way to eat the hot dogs and won the title3 six years in a row. But since 2007, an American has taken back the title and become a hero to his countrymen4.

  In Gloucester, England, there is another competition5 that involves food. This one is all about cheese—but not eating it. At Cooper's Hill Cheese-Rolling Festival, contestants start at the top of a steep hill. A wheel6 of cheese is then rolled down the hill for them to chase after. The winner, who usually slips and slides over the finish line, wins the wheel of cheese.

Strange and Unusual Competitions

  人類之所以有別於動物的一點,就是我們渴望互相競爭。動物獵殺大多是為了生存。而另一方面,人類則早從首次的古代奧運會之前就一直以各種不同的方式與彼此競賽、打鬥,試圖超越對方。人類的天性好勝,因此運動是多數人生活中很重要的一部份。而最近在全球則是有愈來愈多稀奇古怪的競賽活動紛紛出現。

  七月四日是美國人慶祝獨立紀念日的一天,不過在紐約市還有一場重大的活動。Nathan's吃熱狗大賽是一項會透過電視來轉播的年度賽事(編按:Nathan's為美國著名的熱狗堡連鎖專賣店)。參賽者在這場比賽中要試圖在十分鐘內吃下最多個熱狗堡。這聽起來很單純,不過有兩個國家卻為了爭奪Mustard Yellow Belt這條冠軍腰帶而掀起一場激烈大戰。一位體型頗為嬌小的日本人想出一套吃熱狗的全新方法,因此連續六年抱走冠軍。不過自從2007年起,有位美國人接連奪回冠軍,因而成為美國同胞眼中的英雄。

  在英格蘭的Gloucester還有另一場競賽是與食物有關。這個比賽的重點在於起司,但卻不是要把它吃下肚。在Cooper's Hill滾起司節慶中,參賽者在一個陡峭斜坡的頂端準備出發。接著一塊輪狀的起司被推下山坡朝下滾去,好讓參賽者在後頭追趕。勝出的人可得到這塊起司,雖然他通常是連滾帶滑地通過終點線。

《Building Your Vocabulary》
1. top vt. 勝過;超過
This record topped the charts for six weeks.
這張唱片雄踞排行榜之冠長達六週之久。
2. competitive a. 好勝的;充滿競爭的
Publishing is a very competitive industry.
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