In this, the age of the internet, mobile communications and digital technology, we think we have discovered an obvious sport for inclusion at the Beijing Olympics.

It’s time there was a gold medal for SMS; yes, phone texting. It’s the world’s next great spectator sport. If you don’t believe us, consider Utah 19-year-old Ben Cook. Sponsored by a telco, he spent this week doing shopping centre appearances.

That’s right. If you’d happened to be hanging out near the Food Court at the Tri-County Mall, 11700 Princeton Pike, Springdale on Wednesday, you could have seen Cook taking on all comers at speed-texting.

And Cook’s not even the reigning world champion. He was speed-thumbed out of the Guinness Book of Records a couple of weeks ago by a Singapore 16-year-old, Ang Chuang Yang.

Yang smashed Cook’s world record for lightning fingers and the best thing is that, if your phone is within reach, you can test yourself against these super-texters.

To be recognised as the world record-holder, you need to be the fastest person ever to type the following passage into your mobile phone keypad: “The razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality they seldom attack a human.

The passage has to be accurately typed and you are not allowed to have predictive “word-guess” programs happening on your keypad. In other words, you have to individually type every letter, hitting the 6 key three times for the letter “o”, the 9 key four times for the letter “z” and so on.

Cook, who says his love of Nintendo gave him his speed, set a world mark in July of 42.22 seconds. But on November 12, Yang finished the text message above in 41.52 seconds.

Surely synchronized swimming could make way for texting in the Olympic roster? Unless the synchro swimmers were texting, while upside down and under water. Now we’re getting somewhere…

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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