In 1994, Canadian writer and body modification enthusiast Shannon Larratt launched BME as a webzine. The website became one of the internet’s premiere sources for piercing, tattoos and other body modification.
The exact date of the first Pain Olympics is disputed, but it likely took place in either 2002 or 2003. While some claim the first Pain Olympics took place in 2002, BME’s website wiki says that the company held its first “BMEfest 2003,” in Tweed, Ontario, Canada, where the first Pain Olympics took place. Some of the events included drinking hot sauce, forehead pulling, and seeing how much weight one can carry on a suspension. The even would be an annual one, until 2008.
On September 24th, 2004, the website painolympics.com launched, hosting the video “BME Pain Olympics III.”
In 2007, a hoax internet viral video entitled “BME Pain Olympics: Final Round,” which is not associated with the BME Pain Olympics, spread in popularity as a result of a series of reaction videos. It has been viewed and promoted by a large number of web surfers and popular bloggers such as comedian and podcast host Joe Rogan and has been the subject of reaction videos on sites including YouTube (shown below, left). 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.
That year, people also began posting parodies of the video using hot dogs and other phallic objects. On November 28th, 2007, YouTuber gabrockstar posted a version that received more than 2 million views (shown below, right).
On August 10th, 2020, YouTuber Whang! published a “Tales from the Internet” explainer video on the series. The post received more than 596,000 views in less than one year (shown below).