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Watch People Race Down a Hill After Cheese

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By Jack Goodman, originally published in Atlas Obscura.

During the Olympics, events appear up on our screens that never normally receive much airtime. Amid all the synchronized swimming and steeplechase matches in Rio, you might have missed another obscure battle: Britain's annual Cooper's Hill cheese rolling competition.

It's part of Britain's long tradition of partnering cheese, rolling, and competition. As this video shows, competitors hurtle down a steep hillside after officials release a tumbling eight-pound Double Gloucester wheel of cheese. The participants are told that they compete at their own risk, and you can see why.

With a mixture of sprint-running, gravity and plenty of guts, the runners race to get down to the bottom first. At the start it's hard to see whether anyone has kept their footing. The majority are simply falling head-over-heels down the grassy slope. All require a human buffer to impede their progress at the end.

One man, the eventual winner, masterfully gets back onto two feet and reaches the bottom first. A huge crowd lines the course and cheers for their chosen runner. The final four are jeered over the finish line and greeted with a thumping rugby tackle from one of the stocky buffers.

The winner from May 2016, Chris Anderson, was a soldier in the British army and had already won the event 17 times.

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