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apparently, i wasn’t lied to. from wikipedia:
Octopus wrestling involves a diver grappling with an octopus in shallow water and dragging it to the surface.
An early article on octopus wrestling appeared in a 1949 issue of Mechanix Illustrated.
Octopus wrestling was most popular in the coastal United States during the 1960s. At that time, annual World Octopus Wrestling Championships were held in Puget Sound, Washington. The event was televised and attracted up to 5,000 spectators. Trophies were awarded to the individual divers and teams who caught the largest animals. Afterwards, the octopuses were either eaten, given to the local aquarium, or returned to the sea.
In April 1963, 111 divers took part in the World Octopus Wrestling Championships. A total of 25 North Pacific Giant Octopuses were captured that day, ranging in weight from 4 to 57 pounds.
A 1965 issue of Time magazine documented the growing popularity of octopus wrestling as follows:
Merely to minnow about underwater is no longer enough, and such sports as octopus wrestling are coming increasingly into vogue, particularly in the Pacific Northwest, where the critters grow up to 90 Ibs. and can be exceedingly tough customers. Although there are several accepted techniques for octopus wrestling, the really sporty way requires that the human diver go without artificial breathing apparatus.
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