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January 7th, 2013

Different sports reward participants with differing forms of excitement…

…soccer relies on so many skills, exercised with infinite variety despite its familiarity worldwide. Surges of satisfaction at goals, then gutting frustration at failure, shared by every player and fan.

Under global scrutiny for two, three, four hours at a time, tennis players like to show self-control; they make headlines when they lose it. You rarely see their real anguish or pleasure till match point’s played and won.

The proximity of competitors in short track events is a recipe for tension; witness all those false starts. The pressure on sprinting supermen brings years of determined training to a test that lasts mere moments; but worth it, if you cross the line ahead of everyone in history.

Add gravity, and you divide any flat race into shattering uphill sections and the intense rush of rapid descents. Cyclists and cross-country skiers are among the fittest athletes anywhere; they have to earn their downhill buzz.

Dinghy racing compares with cycling…exhausting diagonal tacks against a strong wind are like working slowly up steep hairpins on a mountain road; and bearing away at the windward mark is like accelerating into an electric downhill blast, planing downwind.

Speed is a reliable thrill with few rules on how you reach it. Cliff-divers can hit eighty miles an hour in three seconds, then decelerate even more abruptly. So, worth developing techniques which lessen danger of death!

There’s definitely no shortage of wild ways to feel the intense excitement and occasional terror of high activity.

Click here for some of the craziest:

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