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The first Pain Olympics were inspired by games such as at the 2001 July 1 BBQ in Toronto, Ontario, where some of the events included drinking hot sauce, forehead pulling, and seeing how much weight one can carry on a suspension. The “Pain Olympics” name was first used at the 2003 BMEFest in Tweed, Ontario (and then again at the 2005 BMEFest in Toronto after skipping a year when BMEFest was held in La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico) in the form of a play piercing contest and set the tone for those to follow, with contestants and MCs like The Lizardman, Shannon Larratt, and The Great Orbax. The Pain Olympics is only a small part of the BMEfest experience, but because of the viral video has taken on a mythical history that is much larger than its reality.
There is a hoax Internet viral video entitled BME Pain Olympics: Final Round that has nothing to do with the actual Pain Olympics. It has been viewed and promoted by a large number of Web surfers and popular bloggers such as Joe Rogan and has been the subject of reaction videos on sites including YouTube. In the video, two men are seen performing genital self-mutilation (including using a meat cleaver) set to the song “Livin’ Like a Zombie” by Mortification. The original video, hosted on BMEzine, displays a message at the end confirming it is fake; however, most of the other versions of the video on other websites do not have that message at the end. According to Shannon Larratt, the creator of the video, the two “competitors” (who are actually the same person) used prosthetic makeup and the video contains no actual body modification.