All eyes are on London 2012 as the Olympic Games close and the Paralympic Games begin. But those in the know are preparing for an unrelated and lesser known, but no less exciting competition - The Union Glacier International Sports Extravaganza.
The competition takes place in the austral summer, deep in heart of Antarctica. Unwitting competitors from around the world converge on ANI's Union Glacier Camp to vie for medals while international media capture the action - and silliness - on camera. The line-up of unconventional events tests the strength, skill, and endurance of those who dare to compete and provides great entertainment for spectators. Favorite events are the three-legged ski which requires coordination and teamwork; the WAG bag toss - where athletes aim to toss a small human waste bag into an empty toilet; and the epic, Le Mans start, team sled pull.
Each team is comprised of athletes from several nations, which inspires both international cooperation and friendly rivalry. Gold-wrapped, chocolate medals are awarded to winning teams and champagne is served all around, creating a celebratory atmosphere (and reducing the medal chances of late entrants in the WAG bag toss).
There is no set date for the event, which is organized on a whim, or when weather is too poor for other activities. And while they may have come to Antarctica to climb Mount Vinson or fly to South Pole, few will deny that the Union Glacier Sports Extravaganza was a highlight of their trip!