Athletes take their chosen sports super seriously. I mean, that’s why I train year-round to be a competitive eater (I’ll get you yet, Kobayashi!). But as with anything, intense training can go to the extremes. According to The New York Times, some long-distance runners are getting their toenails surgically removed, rather than dealing with black and blue toenails or nails falling off slowly and causing pain. Seriously, some marathoners are having acid poured into their nail beds to do away with them permanently. One podiatrist said, “A lot of them look at their toenails as useless appendages, remnants of claws from evolutionary times long ago. I’ve heard them say, ‘Toenails are dead weight.’” Some of them even sport t-shirts that say “Toenails are for sissies.” [NY Times]
If you think that’s scary, there’s a slew of other tactics that athletes use to get ahead.
- Not nearly as dire, but still bizarre, many runners suffer from what is called “jogger’s nipples” which involves super chaffed, sometimes bleeding, nipples. My dad ran a marathon with band aids on his nips, but others coat them with two layers of nail polish to prevent chafing. [Mens Health]
- Extreme cyclists sometimes use a blood booster called CERA or EPO which makes bone marrow create extra red blood cells to carry oxygen faster through the body. It’s been banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (really? anti-doping?) and use of the drugs will cause athletes to get suspended. [NY Times]
- The etymology of the word “Amazon” is “a” (without) + “mazos” (breast). This is because many Amazons cut or burned off one breast so they could draw a bowstring more easily. And while this practice doesn’t really exist anymore, female athletes are often deterred by their breasts and sometimes seek breast reduction surgery. Romanian tennis pro Simona Halep had her trademark 34DD’s reduced saying, “The breasts make me uncomfortable when I play. It’s the weight that troubles me—my ability to react quickly.” Of course, her male fans reacted like total idiots and immediately withdrew support for the young star. Ugh. [Total Pro Sports]