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'Speedcabling': Do you have what it takes?

The first "official" competition--to untangle cables the fastest--took place in Los Angeles.

We're not qualified
Corinne Schulze/CNET Networks

It's a pity that the Olympics agenda is already set, because this would be a perfect event to include this summer. After all, if curling can qualify, this certainly can.

As all Cravers know, a high level of dexterity is required in the sport of "speedcabling," whereby contestants compete to see who can untangle a seemingly hopeless knot of cords the fastest. (For the uninitated, here's a definition on Wikipedia.) And even though it won't be included in the Beijing games, that didn't stop the first "official" competition from taking place at a Los Angeles art gallery last week.

The contest was the brainchild of one Steven Schkolne, who, as an IT professional, obviously has some real-world experience with the subject matter as well as perhaps an unhealthy interest in it as a hobby. "I did a bunch of experiments and found that putting them in a dryer for three minutes works pretty well, it allows them to tangle naturally," he said in an interview with the BBC. Not only that, but they also have to actually work after being untangled to qualify.

The grueling event was won by Matthew Howell, a Web developer who told the BBC that "the finals were brutal--12 ethernet cords, some as long as 25 feet, all knotted into a nasty bundle." Howell, who calls his technique "Fierce Data Cloud," said he honed his skills while kneading dough as a pizza maker. That's particularly fitting, as his prize is a $50 gift certificate for a neighborhood Italian restaurant.

(Crave is still trying to hunt down a video of the competition, but in the meantime here are a few photos on Flickr.)