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Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – On day 3 of the 2016 Olympics the world will welcome the latest addition to the lineup – under water basket weaving. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) made the decision to add the “sport” just one year ago.
But is under water basket weaving actually a sport? “Don’t be ridiculous, of course it’s a sport,” said Ivanna Drusselhoff, president of the International Association to Promote and Encourage the Preservation of Under Water Basket Weaving Techniques and History (IAPEPUWBWTH).
“Since cave-dwelling days humans have been making baskets,” said Drusselhoff. “And since the beginning of basket making people have competed to make better looking, higher quality baskets as quickly as possible.”
In the competitions competitors are given supplies and dimensions for a finished basket. The end result is judged on both technical and artistic merit. Technical scores are determined by a basket maker’s adherence to the IAPEPUWBWTH’s rules and standards for basket structure. They include regulations on how well a basket can retain sand or other fine grains. “Expert basket makers can weave a vessel capable of holding water,” according to Drusselhoff.
Artistic scores are determined by patterns woven into the baskets. Only pre-approved traditional patterns identified by the IAPEPUWBWTH are permitted. Deductions are made for any patterns that deviate from the guidelines. To simplify, it’s much like scoring a figure skater. Except the thing being judged is a basket.