The devastating 200-year-old tradition of running along a greasy pole in Malta

Presumably coming soon to ESPN's "The Ocho" is some version of this 200-year old tradition in Malta held in honor of St Julian the Hospitaller:

In the tournament, known as Gostra to the Maltese, a 16 meter-pole is covered by 15 liters of lard and fixed at an angle from the promenade into the sea. Competitors try to grab three flags at its end – a blue and white one dedicated to St Mary, a yellow and white one for the Vatican, and the Belgian tricolor, since St Julian is believed to have been born in the Belgian town of Ath in 7AD.

The prizes for competitors "are nominal" but the risks huge:

This photograph from the tournament is particularly great:

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#REUTERS Pictures of the Decade POY DECADE. A man runs up the "gostra", a pole covered in grease, during the religious feast of St Julian, patron of the town of St Julian's, outside Valletta, Malta, August 25, 2013. Picture taken August 25, 2013. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi/File Photo MALTA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN MALTA SEARCH "POY DECADE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "REUTERS POY" FOR ALL BEST OF 2019 PACKAGES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY. #malta #oddly #tradition #gostra #gostraman #reuters #POY #POYdecade #tpx #picoftheday #toppix #pixoftheday #photooftheday #photosoftheday #imageoftheday #imagesoftheday

A post shared by Darrin Zammit Lupi (@darrinzl) on Dec 3, 2019 at 12:25pm PST

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