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An Irish contingent at the World Bog-Snorkelling Championships in Llanwyrtd Wells in 2006 - the Welsh town will host an alternative to the Olympics this summer. Justin Goff/UK Press/PA Images
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5 alternative 'Olympics' to attend in 2012...

… And one that might happen yet…

IT’S NOT EASY to get a ticket to your event of choice for the upcoming London Summer Olympic Games.

However, if you’re determined to get to an event with the word ‘Olympic’ in it – and don’t mind if they are not strictly playing by Athens Rules – maybe you should organise a trip to these events happening in 2012:

The Culinary Olympics

Erfurt in Germany is hosting the IKA/World Culinary Olympics from 5 to 10 October. There will be nearly 2,000 chefs from across the world carrying out demos and taking part in competitions, with the winners’ ceremony on 10 October. There is an Irish interest in the contest – an Irish team is taking part. It consists of Alan Fitzmaurice (Source Sligo, John Street, Sligo); Michael Egan (Sedexo, VHI, Dublin); George Smith (DIT); Maggs Roach (Merrion Hotel, Dublin); Paul Philips (AnneBrook Hotel; Mullingar, Co Westmeath); Derrick Hall and Paul Duffy (ArrowMart, Dublin).

The Skills Olympics

Referred to as the Skills Olympics by competitors, the WorldSkills Competition tests vocational skills from mixology (cocktail making to you and I) to stonemasonry, jewellery making, electronics, plumbing, metal roofing, mobile robotics, car painting, floristry, bricklaying… the list is endless. The European finals are between 1 and 6 October.

The Special Olympics

Everyone should attend a Special Olympics event at least once. The joy of competing and the good spirit between athletic rivals is an inspiration. See the Special Olympics Ireland site for upcoming events involving our national Special Olympics teams and athletes.

The Tibetan Olympics

It has been four years since Tibetans held their own Olympics so that they could “join in the celebration of the spirit of the biggest international sports event”, ie, the Olympics which were being held in Beijing. The exiled Tibetan government didn’t agree with the move, what with its foe China being in charge of the Beijing Games, but the organisers said the Tibetan Olympics were not meant to be political. Four years on, it doesn’t look like the Tibetan Olympics are going to come out for a second run but we’re keeping an eye on the official website just in case…

World Alternative Games 2012

Bit of a cheat this one, seeing as they don’t actually use the ‘O’ word in the title, but it looks like a hell of a lot of fun. The Games – which will encompass events from worm-charming (?) to bath-tubbing to wife-carrying – are on from 17 August to 2 September in Llanwrtyd Wells in Wales. This town has form in the area of wacky sports events – the World Bog-Snorkelling Championships are held here.

This Man vs Horse Marathon race has also started from the town for the past 22 years:

(via capriv8/Youtube)

Spiritual Olympics

Another slight cheat here but we’ve heard the Eucharistic Congress 2012 – to be held in Dublin between 10 and 17 June at the RDS – being referred to as the Spiritual Olympics. A full week, more events than you should shake a decathlete at, 2,000 volunteers already signed up, and 80,000 expected to attend the closing ceremony in Croke Park? Sounds like a bit of a major event alright.

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