A Finn won it. Again.
Finns do excel at bizarre summer sports, it has to be said.
I am not talking about the ridiculous activities, such as mosquito-swatting, or down-right dangerous ones such as sauna endurance. I am talking about real, proper sports. Strange sports, but sports nonetheless.
Here are my 5 favourite ones...
Wife-CarryingInvented in Finland, wife-carrying involves men racing each other while carrying a petite woman (not necessarily their wife).
If the sport had been invented in Italy, it would be a romantic affair, but this is a Finnish sport, perfected by Estonians (who introduced the technique of carrying the "wife" upside down), so let's say it's more pragmatic than chivalrous.
Check out how the 2012 world-champion is totally indifferent to the fact that his "wife" is drowning as he crosses the ford. Mind you, he is a lawyer.
Swamp FootballPlaying soccer knee-deep in mud is obviously a very silly idea. But it wasn't actually a Finnish idea originally: the sport was invented in England. However, to their credit, the Finns saw the immense potential of the sport and adopted it whole-heartedly. They organised the first world championship in 2000, and it now takes place every year in the Vuorisuo bog in Hyrynsalmi.
Mobile ThrowingDorothy Parker famously said: "This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force."
I am sure we have all had the temptation to do that with our mobile phone at one time or another, but I suppose most of us have never dared. However, the Finns have turned that frustration into a sport...
Snowmobile SailingThis is only one of the sports featured in this post that I have actually seen with my own eyes, in Ivalo in Lapland in 2009.
The premise is simple: take a vehicle designed to travel fast on snow, and use it on a river instead. Skidoos are not actually meant to go on water as they do not float. However, if ridden (or sailed) fast enough, a snowmobile can race across the surface of the water. Of course, if the engine stalls...
Log-RollingThis is another sport originating elsewhere (North-America), but adopted by Finland. It is the most comical looking sport featured here in my opinion. It simply involves people standing on a log on a river, and rolling it backwards and forwards to get the other people on the log to fall off. The winner is the last person standing. A championship is held annually near Ruka, in almost-Lapland.
I know, it's only log-roll, but I like it.
Anyhow, all these weird sports beg a question: why are there so many of them in Finland?
Is it because the Finns are inherently eccentric? Is it because Finns want to have summer sports they are actually good at (joking)? Or is it simply that little towns across Finland have found a clever way to put their name on the map and make a quick euro by organising weird championships?