According to the BBC, it's becoming increasingly popular for parents to place long-term bets with bookmakers on whether their kids will achieve fame and fortune during their lives. For instance, whether their kid will become a famous soccer player or a great golfer:
A particular type of long-time achievement bet - parents having a bet on their children achieving something in their life - has increased tenfold in the past five years, according to Ladbrokes.
"Parents betting on their children's future successes is as popular as betting on the final of the X Factor," says Jessica Bridge, from the firm.
...it's not all about sporting prowess, he says. Many parents will place bets that their children will pass a particular exam. And then there was the grandmother who thought her granddaughter so beautiful that she wagered she would grace the front cover of a leading fashion magazine.
"People do it for a variety of reasons," says Sharpe. "They are demonstrating that they have real faith in someone - have every confidence in them. They may be using it as an incentive. Or it could just be a bit of fun. Something to talk about, or put on the wall.
If only my parents had placed a bet when I was a child that I would grow up to be a blogger at Weird Universe, they'd be rich! Although the internet didn't exist back then, so it would have been a real longshot bet.
Next time I'm in Suffolk, I'm definitely making a trip to see Tim Hunkin's Under the Pier show, located at the Southwold Pier. It's an amusement arcade full of his unique, hand-made machines. Read more about it in this Guardian article. Below is a video of his timely Whack a Banker game. Link to Tim Hunkin's site.
Now that Myanmar seems to be opening up to the outside world, do you think their national sport of Chinlone will sweep the planet? A noncompetitive team endeavor, with no winning or losing? Nah, not likely!
When I think of the Olympics, I rarely consider that each event has both a mens and a womens division. I tend to focus more on the sport itself regardless of who is competing. After all, the Olympics is supposed to encourage the spirit of friendly competition, and not highlight major flaws, such as gender bias. Unfortunately this year's winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, is doing just that. Women ski jumpers have petitioned to join every Winter Olympics since Nagano in 1998, and each time they have been denied by the International Olympics Committee (IOC). So what's the deal? Well, the IOC is sidestepping the issue. They've issued a written statement that reads "Women's Ski Jumping does not reach the necessary technical criteria and as such does not yet warrant a place alongside other Olympic events." Yet female ski jumpers argue the point (read about it here). Lindsey Van, current world record holder for the longest jump, is quick to point out that they meet the necessary criteria. But it may be a long time before we see women flying off the end of a ski jump in front of Olympic judges. IOC member Dick Pound is quoted as saying "If in the meantime you're making all kinds of allegations about the IOC and how it's discriminating on the basis of gender," he warned, "the IOC may say, 'Oh yeah, I remember them. They're the ones that embarrassed us and caused us a lot of trouble in Vancouver, maybe they should wait another four years or eight years.'" Yes, you read that right. He is publicly threatening female ski jumpers to keep them out of the Olympics for years if they persist. So much for the spirit of friendly competition.