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Man Races Horse...and Other Showdowns

A man raced a horse across the desert in the blazing sun and a wrestler went toe to toe with an 800 pound bear. Here's a look at some of the great sports showdowns between humans and animals.

Runner vs Horse
In February 2002, a long distance runner from the United States raced one of the world's leading endurance race horses. The 50 mile (80 km) race across the desert in the United Arab Emirates was a photo finish. Tom Johnson beat the horse by just 10 seconds in a race that took five hours and 45 minutes to complete. Tom did have one big advantage in that he was able to eat and drink while he ran. The horse had to stop for 60 minutes during the race to eat, drink and have a short rest.

Wrestler vs Bear
In December 1999, a 290 pound bodyguard stepped into the ring to wrestle an 800 pound grizzly bear named Dakota. Not surprisingly, it wasn't really a close fight. Dominic Menaldi left the ring with several cuts and scratches from Dakota's claws. Dakota became bored after a few minutes and went back to his cage without a scratch.

Wrestler vs Alligator
Alligator wrestling has been a popular pastime in Florida and many other parts of the world for years. Seminole Indians in Florida are believed to have invented the "sport" during the 1800s. The Seminoles relied on alligators for food. They would wrestle and capture gators, then keep them in pens until the animals were big enough to eat. Now people usually wrestle alligators as a hobby or to entertain others.

Swimmer vs Fish
There are very few sea creatures that humans could challenge in a swimming race. The top Olympic swimmers like Ian Thorpe or Jenny Thompson can swim around 5 miles (8 kms) per hour. Compare that to most dolphins or sharks, which travel through the water at around 25 miles (40 kms) an hour. That's why people being chased by sharks usually end up getting eaten - even if they're just a few yards from the shore. A human could, however, take on a walrus, which only swims around 6 miles (9.5 kms) an hour.

What human vs. animal match would you like to see? about your favorite match-up.

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