Staying up ’til the wee hours of the morning to catch your fave Olympians go for the gold in Beijing? That’s cool. But what’s even cooler is the fact that the best athletes in the world can be found in the animal kingdom, not the Olympic Village. If the Summer Olympics were open to all of the planet’s species, humans probably wouldn’t even have a shot at medaling—especially if they had to compete against these top five animal athletes:
5. Cows. Natural track and field stars, cows have been known to hurdle a 6-foot fence to escape from a slaughterhouse and trot 7 miles to reunite with calves sold at auction.
4. Ants. Known for their Herculean strength, ants can lift 20 times their own body weight. That’s the equivalent of a 200-pound weightlifter bench pressing 4,000 pounds!
3. Cheetahs. The fastest land animal, cheetahs can reach speeds of up to 75 miles per hour. Able to accelerate faster than a Ferrari, cheetahs can go from 0 to 68 miles per hour in just 3 seconds.
2. Sharks. Frightfully fast, sharks are excellent swimmers thanks to scales covered with tiny teeth that enable water to flow smoothly over their bodies. Hoping to reduce drag and increase speed, many Olympic swimmers are now sporting swimsuits modeled after shark skin.
1. Chickens. Chickens know how to bend it like Beckham. Give a small round object to a group of chickens, and they’ll happily pass it around, much like they’re playing soccer.
Yep, chickens. Take that, all you live-animal markets! Speaking of China not exactly giving a cluck about animal protection (see also: fur farms), I say that we honor the true Olympic spirit of friendship and fair play by treating all animals like gold.
Written by Amy Elizabeth