The Brazilian Olympics are in big trouble, as recent news articles tell us. Surely they could use a boost from an athletic banana, like the ad campaign from Chiquita that the 1980 Winter Olympics got. And a tropical fruit is even more synonymous with Brazil than it was with Lake Placid.
In 1992, Mississippi State Coach Jackie Sherrill arranged for a bull to be castrated in front of his players before a game, as an "educational and motivational experience." Asked how it was motivational, Sherrill replied, "That's everybody's different perception."
1977: Larry Canaday, football coach at Eau Gallie High School in Florida, would inspire his players to victory by biting the head off a live frog. No one at the school was particularly disturbed by this. Parents would even give him frogs before games to help fire up the kids. But when word of the unusual motivational technique began to attract national attention, school officials told Canaday that the "frog-biting must cease."
It seems that circa 1962, pro football and the bread companies decided to engage in some mutual branding, offering loaves of bread of the same kind ostensibly enjoyed by the players. It seems likely that all these loaves emerged from the same factory and got a different team name slapped on them depending on their destination. Not much difference between brands of sliced whited bread to begin with, after all.
I am surprised the current-day NFL has not picked up on this, especially with the Superbowl coming up.
So what was the winning name? It's a mystery for the ages. As this blogger says, "This car was widely shown and generated considerable publicity. Surprisingly, no one at S.C. Johnson & Son seems to remember the winning name to this day. 'I attempted to find out on numerous occasions during my career with Nash and American Motors -- writing the Johnson company and perusing newspapers and trade journals of the period,' says John A. Conde. 'Unfortunately, nothing turned up.'"
June 1997: Mait Lepik won Estonia's first banana-eating contest thanks to a time-saving strategy. Instead of wasting precious moments peeling the bananas, he simply ate the bananas peels and all. His first-place prize was a free trip to the Canary Islands.
That's how the story was widely reported back in 1997 (such as here and here and below), but I have a hard time believing that it could be quicker to eat a banana with its peel still on, rather than taking a brief moment to remove the peel. After all, the skin is full of fiber and takes time to chew. I think it should have been reported that he managed to win the contest despite not peeling the bananas first.
In the video below the article, professional competitive eater Kevin Strahle (aka L.A. Beast) eats six unpeeled bananas. It's not easy for him. So I don't see how it could have been an easy way for Lepik to win a banana-eating contest either.
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction books such as Elephants on Acid.
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.
Chuck is the purveyor of News of the Weird, the syndicated column which for decades has set the gold-standard for reporting on oddities and the bizarre.
Our banner was drawn by the legendary underground cartoonist Rick Altergott.