Why Britain's Cheese Rolling Contest Just Made History

Every country has its traditions and the U.K. is no different. The Brits have a deep respect for the monarchy and most recently were all too happy to line the streets and pubs to celebrate the Queen's platinum jubilee along with her grandson Prince William, his wife Dutchess Kate, and their adorable children. They also like to take part in the annual Cooper's Hill Cheese Rolling and Wake contest in Gloucester, per Food and Wine, and it's quite the spectacle.

What is a cheese rolling and wake? According to National Geographic, wake is local slang for festival, which this cheese rolling contest was once a part of. It requires participants to run down a hill with a sharp decline — a 50% grade — in an effort to capture an 8-pound wheel of double Gloucester cheese. This oversized puck of nutty and buttery cheese gets a single-second head start and rolls at speeds up to 70 miles per hour. It's an inclusive event open to anyone adventurous enough or who has imbibed enough liquid courage to want to participate. The only thing you really need to know is few people actually get down the hill on their feet. Most people go a-tumbling and end up on their bums, their sides, or however they are fortunate enough to land. But this year's cheese rolling contest, which has been happening since at least 1826, made history.

An American woman won the prize

Food and Wine reports that for the first time in the history of the race, a woman walked away with one of the top honors and — wait for the drum roll — she was an American. Per Sports Illustrated, Abby Lampe, a North Carolina State University industrial and systems engineer graduate, was crowned a winner of this year's cheese rolling contest. Lampe confessed she trained like an athlete, watching hours of film from past rolls and then practicing on some of her local hills to get her technique just right. 

Surprisingly, the victorious Lampe only got a couple of small bruises on her legs in her pursuit of the cheese. In fact, she told the sports publication the most difficult part of this adventure was shipping the cheese home. Lampe said, "I actually spent four hours trying to figure out how to ship it ... Like, going down the hill was 15 seconds. But shipping the cheese was definitely by far the harder experience." This wasn't Lampe's first food competition. She also took up the gauntlet from Krispy Kreme and ate a dozen donuts halfway through a five-mile race. But don't worry if you didn't see this event on ESPN. There are plenty of people who like to film and post it on social media, including this tweet.