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5 Controversial Guinness World Records That Still Aren’t Resolved

For more than half a century, amazing feats of human achievement have been tracked by the Guinness World Records.

No matter your interest—and we truly emphasize that—this single organization has chronicled every accomplishment known to man.

Of course, setting a record involves competition. And those who want a spot in history books will stop at nothing to set a record of all shapes and sizes.

With the 65th anniversary of the first Guinness Book of Records taking place on August 27, here are five records surrounded in controversy.

1. Billy Mitchell Dominating Donkey Kong

Photo Credit: Unsplash

There are gamers, and then there’s Billy Mitchell. The Donkey Kong enthusiast set a record all the way back in 1982 with 874,300 points. Fast forward to 2005 and he became the first player to ever top the 1 million mark.

He continued to surpass his personal bests, which attracted the attention of Twin Galaxies. The organization, which judges and verifies video game high scores for Guinness, determined that Mitchell had tweaked the arcade cabinets and thereby made his scoring ability much easier.

Twin Galaxies and Guinness stripped the Donkey Kong champ of his title. After Mitchell threatened legal action, Guinness backpedaled on its decision and officially reinstated Mitchell’s scores on June 17, 2020.

2. Jessica Anderson’s Fastest Marathon Time While Dressed as a Nurse

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Jessica Anderson worked as a nurse at the Royal London Hospital. And in 2019, she attempted to set a new record for the fastest marathon time while dressed like a nurse.

Naturally, you’d imagine she stood a good chance of cementing her place in Guinness history.

However, after completing the race in three hours, eight minutes, and 22 seconds, she was told that she did not meet the organization’s dress code for nurses.

Luckily for the speedy nurse, pressure from social media campaigns resulted in Guinness awarding Anderson her record a few days after the race.

3. Ali Reda and Joe Girard’s Battle for the Car Salesman Record

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Back in the ’70s, Joe Girard was the king of car sales in Detroit. In 1973, he totaled 1,425 sales for Merollis Chevrolet in East Detroit.

He maintained the top spot with Guinness until 2017. That year, Dearborn, Mich., salesman Ali Reda supposedly toppled Girard from his throne with 1,530 new cars and 52 used cars sold.

A back-and-forth legal battle ensued, with Girard alleging that Reda’s “false” claim had damaged his earning potential as the original record holder.

Ultimately, right before Reda hired a private auditing firm to crunch the numbers, Guinness did away with the record entirely. Girard eventually dropped his lawsuit in 2018 and passed away at the age of 90 in February 2019.

4. Jeanne Calment’s Age and Identity Dispute

If you’re feeling old, I guarantee this record will make you feel differently. Jeanne Calement holds the claim of being the oldest person Guinness has ever authenticated.

She lived to be 122 years and 164 days old…supposedly.

A pair of Russian researchers believe the woman in the record books is not actually Jeanne, but rather her daughter, Yvonne.

The duo even published their findings in a research paper that suggested Yvonne assumed her mother’s identity after her death in order to avoid a tax inheritance.

So far, Guinness has yet to make any changes.

Rest comfortably, Jeanne.

5. Elizabeth Llorente’s Burpee Record

Photo Credit: Pexels

Elizabeth Llorente put every gym-goer to shame by pumping out 1,490 burpees in an hour to set the world record.

However, if form matters, then she most certainly needs at least an asterisk next to her name.

Llorente’s version of a burpee looked much more abbreviated than the traditional one. While her record is safe based on Guinness’ burpee standards, many disagree.

At least give her credit for trying.

Do you think you could set a Guinness record for something? What would it be?

Tell us your story in the comments below.