Extreme Ironing

Extreme Ironing (or EI) is an extreme sport and a performance art in which people take an ironing board to a remote location and iron a few items of clothing. According to the official website, extreme ironing is “ the latest danger sport that combines the thrills of an extreme outdoor activity with the satisfaction of a well-pressed shirt. ”

Part of the attraction and interest the media has towards extreme ironing seems to center on the issue of whether it is really a sport or not. It is widely considered to be tongue-in-cheek.

Some locations where such performances have taken place include a mountainside of a difficult climb; a forest; in a canoe; while skiing or snowboarding; on top of large bronze statues; in the middle of a street; underwater; whilst parachuting; under the ice cover of a lake; and in warzones. The performances have been conducted solo or by groups.

The Guardian said of extreme ironing that it carries on a tradition of British eccentricity.

Before heading into the mainstream extreme ironing was used by the band Monster Magnet in the video of their song "Negasonic Teenage Warhead" from their album Dopes to Infinity (1995). However, purists of the sport will claim that it was started in 1997 in Leicester, East Midlands, England by resident Phil Shaw in his back garden. Shaw came home from what he recalls as a hard day in a Leicester knitwear factory. Preferring the idea of an evening out rock climbing, he decided to combine the two activities into a new extreme sport. In June 1999, Shaw, who uses the nickname "Steam", embarked on an international tour to promote the activity. The stops included the United States of America, Fiji, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. An encounter with German tourists in New Zealand led to the formation of a group called "Extreme Ironing International", and the German Extreme Ironing Section or GEIS.

As extreme ironing has branched off, the conditions can gain in extreme activity. For example a branch of ironing has been developed that includes both bungee jumping and well-pressed clothing. Bungee ironing is, what some would call, the ultimate in the thrill of extreme ironing.

A documentary, titled Extreme Ironing, was filmed for Britain's Channel 4. The programme concentrates on the rivalry between the EIB (Extreme Ironing Bureau) and a breakaway group called Urban Housework. It was later aired on the National Geographic Channel.

In 2003, Phil Shaw released a book published by New Holland Publishers, also entitled Extreme Ironing. The following year saw the release of a DVD titled Ironing Under the Sky, which was produced by Hot Under the Collar (HUTC) Productions. A follow-up documentary was made in 2004, this time by RDF and HUTC, which was aired on Sky's Adventure One channel the following year.

In 2003 the Rowenta Trophy was won by a group from South Africa by ironing across a gorge at the Wolfberg Cracks.

In 2004, the EIB traveled to the US on the Rowenta Tour to recruit additional ironists and ironed at Mount Rushmore, New York, Boston and Devils Tower.

In September of 2002, the first and only World Championship for the sport took place in Valley, Germany, near Munich. Organized by the German Extreme Ironing Section, the 1st Extreme Ironing World Championships drew international media attention[citation needed]. The competition included eighty different teams from ten different countries, including Austria, Australia, Croatia, Chile, Germany, and the UK. Coming third in this competition was a well-known athlete, Kristian Adamson, from Rochdale, United Kingdom.

In 2006, a team of extreme ironists from Devon, United Kingdom, broke the underwater ironing depth record, for ironing 126m under the sea, off the Egyptian coast. On 17 August 2006, 39 year old Londoner Louise Trewavas, aka "Dive Girl" claimed a new world record by ironing at a depth of 137m (452 feet) in the Blue Hole, at the Red Sea resort of Dahab. The extreme ironing underwater record was first set by Trewavas in 2003 at a depth of 100m. Her latest successful attempt at the record was a response to Teignmouth-based diver John Rudolf ironing a T-shirt on a 129m dive in July 2006.

On the August 2, 2004 episode of EastEnders, EI was referenced. According to the EIB, the characters made reference to the current altitude record holders.

"As the party loving Kat and Zoe Slater are preparing to go out, they are invited to the launch party at Angie's Den by a couple of "media types". The pair say that there'd be celebrities in the shape of the Hot Plate Brothers there."

Extreme Ironing has been featured in news stories on CBS Sunday Morning, in The New York Times, The Sun, The Sunday Times, The Guardian, The Sydney Morning Herald, Calcutta Telegraph, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Toronto Star, TIME Magazine, ESPN.com, The Financial Times, MTVu[8], and CNN.com.

It is said to have inspired "urban housework", in which people vacuum the outdoors, and extreme cello playing.

Following the 2004 Summer Olympics, five-time Olympic gold medalist Sir Steve Redgrave backed extreme ironing to become an Olympic sport. "It is a fantastic sport. It's a little bizarre in some respects, but in a few years' time, rowing could be chopped from the Olympics and extreme ironing could be in!"

Steam commented on the topic on the EIB website: "Although, Sir Steve obviously wasn't really proposing the demise of rowing as an Olympic sport, it's still fantastic to get the backing of arguably Britain's finest ever athlete. And you never know, it might see the start of a new style of extreme ironing with competitors balanced on rowing boats."

In defense of these opinions, Steam asks doubters to consider synchronized swimming and its status as an Olympic sport.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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