Alright, Finland is an amazing place to live: the best education system in the world, the best place for mothers, the cleanest environment and so on. But where is the catch? No country can be that perfect! Well, let me tell you: the Finns are absolute crazy – about sports.
Sonkajärvi, a small village with a population of 4,800, attracts some 9,000 people for a weekend every July. It is the World Championship of Wife-Carrying! This Finnish sport has become an international sensation, and the event has participants from as far as Australia and Hong Kong. The competition is participated in pairs, and the goal is to complete a route as fast as possible – with the other person carrying the other one, on their back, upside down. Sounds a bit wacky, right? Well, this is not even the weirdest sport the Finns have invented. Sign up for the competition, where the first price is the person-being-carried’s weight in beer.
Rubber Boot Throwing
“I think it’s pretty obvious that some drunken people were sitting on a terrace after a sauna and saw a rubber boot,” said Harri Kinnnunen, the Boot Throwing World Championship organiser, to BBC. While the UK and New Zealand have their own versions of the sport (Wellie Wanging and Gumboot Throwing), the first official boot throwing competition was held in Finland in 1992. The sport is nowadays more popular than ever, and there is even IBTA, International Boot Throwing Association!
Yes, it is soccer, but played in a swamp. It is the most popular weird Finnish sport, and the world championships in Hyrynsalmi attract over 30,000 people and over 300 teams from all over the world. Another version of the sport is played in the middle of snow instead of a swamp, but that does not really make it any less crazy, huh? Find more information about swamp soccer.
The art of hobbyhorsing has seen an incredible rise in popularity in the recent years, especially among young Finnish girls. The past-time has gotten so popular, that even national championships are organised! In the competition, the participants trot and hurdle obstacles while riding the wooden, often hand-crafted toys. This Finnish sport is just waiting to go international!
Air Guitar World Championships
Finland is the promised land of heavy metal, so of course we have Air Guitar World Championships! The world championships have been organised in Oulu since 1996, and are internationally recognised. In addition to thousands of live spectators, millions of people follow the competition through TV and other media channels. Just this summer, the Japanese TV company Asahi’s hosts Daiki and Koji went to Oulu to learn the art of air guitar! See more information on the championships, or even sign up yourself. While getting ready for your guitar solo, check out our blog posts about Finnish Music Business and The Top 5 Finnish Music Festivals to get into the mood!