Picture This Slippery Slope


Maltese men, women and children attempted to scramble up to the top of a very greasy pole near Valletta on Sunday as a part of the island's traditional "gostra" competition. The pole, which is covered in grease and soap suds, is mounted on a barge in a bay so that it hangs at an angle over the water. The contest, which dates back to the Middle Ages, is over when a contestant manages to snag a flag situated at the tip of the 10-meter (32-foot) pole. Unfortunately, the contestant pictured here did not make it to the top -- instead, he managed a graceful leap into the water below.

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