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German celebrities gear up for wild wok race

AFP · 7 Mar 2009, 09:01

Published: 07 Mar 2009 09:01 GMT+01:00

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Inspired by a German TV show in 2003, thousands of people each year watch the competitors - ranging from popstars to Olympic winter sports athletes - throwing themselves down the mile-long track at up to 100 kilometers/hour (60 miles/hour) on live television.

"In the last years an average of three million people have followed the event," spokesman Michael Ostermeier of commercial channel ProSieben told AFP.

Saturday's competition will include one-man and team races in four-person wok-sleds.

Tour de France cyclist Erik Zabel and Cora Schumacher, wife of Formula One racing driver Ralf Schumacher, are just two of the daredevils who will take to the starting blocks.

"The pilots will have modified soup ladles attached to their feet which will help them to steer the wok," Ostermeier said.

Previous winning teams include Olympic ski jumper Sven Hannawald and racing driver turned Playboy model Christina Surer.

After excessive advertising caused a Berlin court to rule that the event must be labelled a commercial event, German media have referred to it as the "most dangerous infomercial" of all time.

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"In 2007 the singer from the German band Oomph! suffered a severe concussion, after which we decided to introduce weight limits of 130 kilogrammes (287 pounds) for the one-man woks," Osterman explained, adding that participants also wear protective gear, similar to ice hockey equipment.

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