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Finland: World Championship of Weird

Dear Finnophile,

Finland is filled with the wackiest sports to discover on this blue green planet of ours. Some are famous and others slightly more obscure. It could be the bipolar weather or the 24/7 sun during the summer, but the Finns have a knack of coming up with the most ridiculous events ever possible. Here in this letter to you I hope to scratch the surface of as many weird competitions in Finland as I possibly can. So that you, dearest reader and friend, can reach a whole new level of Finnophilia.

Wife Carrying World Championship

The wife carry (eukonkanto) is one of the most famous Finnish sport. With competitors coming from around the world to carry women across an obstacle course in the Wife Carry World Championships, which are held in Sonkajärvi every year, since 1992.

As always,  when it comes to matters to do with Finnish culture I invite, or rather implore you, to delve in and experience it yourself. You could be the next wife carrying champion waiting to happen, dearest reader and friend.

For more information on applying to the event itself, I will leave you a link here: The Official Website of Wife Carrying World Championship. The website contains an in-depth history of the sports origins in English, for all those who wish to become real connoisseurs of this incredibly humorous sport.

World Sauna Championship

One of the most famous championship competitions in Finland was the World Sauna Championship. Due to the horrible accident that happened in 2010 the legacy of the championship was short-lived.

This obviously insane championship got its debut in Heinola of the year 1999. In this grueling endurance sport the gladiators of sauna culture sit inside the heated sauna for hours. It’s a last man standing competition and annually someone got badly dehydrated or burned. It took Finns and everyone involved a decade to realize, no matter how fun it was, that the sport was too dangerous.

I am saddened to tell you, my friend, that there is no way for you to experience holding the World Sauna Championship trophy anymore, but I have to say I am glad too, for it would have been very dangerous for you and I would have been very concerned for your health.

Swamp Soccer World Championship

The Swamp Soccer World Championship is held every year at Hyrynsalmi during the summer. This sport has had growing popularity ever since the first one held in 2000.

This sport’s history in Finland, lies in skiing, believe it or not. The forefather of swamp soccer, Esa Romppainen, was a Vuokatti Ski Team’s skier who thought of training  during the summer time by playing soccer while being knee deep in a swamp somewhere in a forest.

This sport is fairly self-explanatory, it’s soccer in a swamp. Now this sport is a sport for you, if you enjoy running after a ball while falling down, getting wet, and getting dirty. It’s healthy and fun, so if you have enough friends who are crazy enough and would like to join you in a team then get to organizing. I will provide you with the link to their official site, containing all that information you desire to know, here.

Mobile Phone Throwing World Championship

We all know there are too many mobile phones per capita in Finland. If you’ve ever sat in any form of public transit in Helsinki or walked the city streets you will hear the infamous Nokia Tune in your dreams. In the year 2000 some Finns in Savonlinna had enough. I will not start to question if the last mobile phone that broke the camel’s back had anything to do with the prestigious Savonlinna Opera-festival.

Ever since 2000 the world championships have been held once every year. Participants are rated on how much pure rage and “sisu” is placed on the throw, at least that is what I’d rate the throws with. This is a light and fun sport, so I warmly invite you to take a dive into Finnish culture with this sport. You will feel much more relaxed after throwing the mobile phone, even better, if you imagine your spouse or boss being on the other end. Here, I have provided you with a link: Mobile Phone Throwing World Championship.

Other oddities 

Now the rest of the mind-boggling sports and competitions that you might show interest to participate in are rather obscure and I haven’t been able to find too much information on them myself. These are for the truest of Finnophiles to place their detective skills to the test.

First let me introduce to you a variation of wife carrying called Äijänkärräys, which roughly translates to “man carting”. The Man Carting World Championship has been organized four times already and has gained some worldwide popularity through Reuters. Apparently women race one another while having their man on a milk cart. Here is a link I would like to share with you, if you would find yourself interested in Äijänkärräyksen MM-kisat (in Finnish).

Let me tell you of one of the most fascinating competitions in Finland, I didn’t find too much information on it myself, but maybe you will have better luck. Somewhere in Finland Piereskelyn SM is held, this would be National Farting Championship. If you have a knack at emptying gastrointestinal gasses then you could be a force to be reckoned with in this crazy competition.

There are other competitions in Finland, these are mostly to do with throwing things found at a farm, just like the Mobile Phone Throwing World Championship if it were held a hundred years ago. The one I found more information for you is Heinänheiton MM-kisat (Hay Throwing World Championship). This year it is held close to Lappeenranta in Savitaipale, according to reasearch I managed to do for you. In this sport you would have the chance to compete with others by throwing a strand of hay. To learn more, I would suggest you, who wishes to attain the champion’s title in throwing strands of hay, to do a road trip to the Finnish countryside and have an adventure. Here is some information in Finnish where I found information on hay throwing: Heinä Hässäkkä.

I hope I have helped you in finding your calling my friend, so I wish you the best of luck in claiming the world championship title in your chosen sport. Even if you decide not to compete, all of these events are worth a visit. May your travels be many and full of experiences!

With best regards,
Ta-ta!

 

Picture Sources:
Steve Jurvetson/ Wife Carrying
Miika Silfverberg/ Sauna
husin.sani/ Mobile Phone Thrower
Guthiwoody/ Swamp Soccer

 

Sources/Links:
eukonkanto.fi
suopotkupallo.fi
kulttuuripalvelukaiku.fi/aijankarrays/
mobilephonethrowing.fi/
Sapassia: Heinä Hässäkkä

 

1 comment for “Finland: World Championship of Weird

  1. 03/10/2013 at 18:13

    MAN. this wife carrying shampionship is crayyyzy bro! LMAO when I saw one video of the competition back in time. Defenately should be more popular and international. Sorry about my Enlish not my language anyways love reading