As the eyes of the world turn to Vancouver to witness the best of all competitions, I would like to bring to the attention of Yukoners the fact that we have our own recently declared champions right here in Whitehorse. On Saturday, January 30 at Skagway’s first annual Belly Bowl, three of the five trophies were awarded to Canadians!
The Belly Bowl was a tournament of “belly-bouncing,” a contact sport wherein a contestant must either knock his opponent off his feet, or out of bounds using only the belly. Although at first sight this may appear frivolous, it actually bears many legitimate comparisons to the events about to take place in BC.
Like the very first Olympic sports, such as wrestling, belly-bouncing is truly a pure contest in that only the human body is used. There’s no padding. No equipment such as skis, no helmets, no shoes. Even the shirts are optional.
Secondly, like Olympic boxing, a match can be won either by a TBO (technical bump out) or by an accumulation of points awarded by judges. Rounds are timed with a brief rest in between.
Comparisons can also be directly made to the weightlifting events. There is a championship for both men and women, with three weight divisions in the men’s event and two in the women’s. The women’s under 150 pounds was denominated the “anorexic princesses.”
What makes this thoroughly unique though, is the resemblance belly-bouncing has to Olympic gymnastics in terms of scoring. Marks are awarded for artistic interpretation, style, grace and originality, including clever dekes and fancy footwork.
And lastly, in common with figure skating, the judges can be bought. However, unlike the Olympics, bribery is strictly above board. Indeed it is on the board in the form of intoxicating liquors. One could even go so far as to report that the judges became cranky when they could see the bottom of their mugs.
However, the Yukon team can be proud of their achievements, taking 60 per cent of the prizes. Each member would like to encourage everyone to try this new sport. It’s economical, lets off steam and obviously leads to glory. We hope to have many more Yukon entrants next year.
Given current North American trends in lifestyle, the Yukon contingent believes the popularity of belly-bouncing is about to skyrocket, attracting both participants and fans in huge numbers. It may not be too much to hope that it could be introduced as a demonstration or trial sport at the 2020 summer Olympic Games.
On a personal note, I can’t remember the last time I had that much fun all in one night. My cheeks are still sore from excessive laughing. A big thank you to all the judges, the local press for photographing the action and especially to Buckwheat for all the administrative work he did in preparation. I wouldn’t have missed it for anything.