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Sports For The Unathletic

The 42nd Annual World Series of Poker got underway on May 31, and on July 19, it came to a close. Held at the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, the nine players who emerged victorious from this battle royale will return four months later as “The November Nine” and compete in the $10,000 No Limit Hold’em Championship. The event was broadcast on the cable sports network ESPN, which begs the question, “Is poker actually a sport?”

Poker is without question a game of strategy, with high stakes and tense outcomes. It might be a stretch, however, to refer to it as a sport in the traditional sense. After all, contestants remain seated for the entire event, and as with darts the game can be played while drinking beer and chain-smoking, activities that may compromise athletic performance. Still, the question of what is or isn’t a sport is a thorny area.

Like poker players, NASCAR drivers remain seated for the duration of their races. No one would argue, though, that Dale Earnhardt, Jr., doesn’t expose himself to potentially fatal physical hazards. This goes for motorcycle racing and power boating as well, both of which are potentially hazardous, Olympic-recognized events that can be performed by people in less than peak physical shape.

The definition of the word “sport” is wide and includes activities that nobody should be disqualified from participating in simply because they lack an Adonis-like physique. Some are recognized as legitimate sports by the International Olympic Committee, and some have become bona fide Olympic events. What are some notable sports that the unathletic can participate in? Click ahead to find out.

By Daniel Bukszpan
Posted 19 July 2011

Ryan McVay | Lifesize | Getty Images