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Modern footbag was invented in 1972 by John Stalberger and Mike Marshall in Oregon City, Oregon.[2] It began as a means to rehabilitate Stalberger's knee post-surgery, in what the two referred to as "hack the sack." They produced and trademarked a product that they called the "Hacky sack," later designating the sport itself as "footbag." The product and sport grew in popularity, and in 1994 the International Footbag Players' Association (IFPA), the governing body of the sport, was formed, and with it the World Footbag website.[3]
John Stalberger
Photo: John Stalberger, by Oregon Local News.

World Footbag Championships
The first World Footbag Championships was held in 1980, in Oregon, as a national event.[4] 1996 saw the first world championships outside of the USA, in Montreal,[5] won by Rick Reese.[6] And 2003 saw the first world championships outside of North America, in Prague, Czech Republic,[7] won by Vasek Klouda.[8]

Other foot sports

a jianzi
Photo: A jianzi, by Wikipedia.
While footbag is credited with having originated in the 1970s, other similar foot sports have existed in some cases for millenia prior. Jianzi (also known as shuttlecock) is a small, circular mass of various materials (such as leather or plastic) attached to a formation of feathers that is kicked and used to perform a variety of tricks. It was reportedly first played in the 5th century BCE, in China, where it continues to be very popular today with a world championships of its own.[9]

Sepak Takraw is a Southeast Asian sport that was first played in 15th century Malaysia.[10] It is perhaps most holistically similar to footbag sports in that it includes both freestyle and over-the-net disciplines. It is played by kicking a ball made of woven materials (traditionally rattan).

And freestyle football, which involves performing tricks with a football ("soccer ball" in North America), has been around since the early 1900s.[11] Freestyle football has been known to adopt many freestyle footbag concepts, such as the fundamental trick, clipper. Its competitions first began in 2000.[12]
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