World’s Most Extreme Championships Abound in Finland


You might know of Finland for being home to the alternative rock band HIM made popular in the United States by skateboarder and reality TV star Bam Margera, but it’s also a country with probably the most extreme world championships.  These include mobile phone throwing, wife carrying and a sauna endurance contest, the latter of which ended with the banning of that particular championship after the death of one of the finalists last year.

extreme championships in Finland

The World Sauna Championship

Held from 1999 to 2010, the World Sauna Championship started from unofficial sauna sitting competitions.  By the time the 2010 championships came around the contest had contestants from over 20 countries.  And even though the Finnish Sauna Society took offense and opposed the event, the championship grew to be very popular.  That is until 2010.

The Wife Carrying World Championships

The Wife Carrying World Championship brings in about 9,000 spectators each year to a little town in Finland and takes place on a track which has different obstacles.  And while the first official wife-toting was done championship style in 1992 the whole idea came from an 18th century tale where this bad guy used to abduct women and do um, nasty things to them.  It was said that the bandit wouldn’t take anyone in his band who could not jump over a creek while hold holding a sack of grain.  In the game you can carry your wife in several ways, over the shoulders, piggyback, or even hanging upside down with the woman’s legs around her husband’s shoulders or neck.  All are permissible.

Boot Tossing

Then there’s the World Wide Championship of Boot Tossing which has grown so popular there are specific versions of the sport in the United Kingdom (Wellie Wanging) and New Zealand (Gumboot Throwing).  This sport even has its own international organization, the IBTA (International Boot Throwing Association), an Italian designed throwing boot and anti-doping regulations.  What?  I wonder if there are anti-doping regulations in the kid’s version also held at the same time in Finland?

Swamp Soccer

Probably the most popular championship event has to be Swamp Soccer.  The world championships of this sport attracts over 300 teams and over 30,000 fans coming from Russia, Iceland, Sweden the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. It’s pretty similar to regular soccer except change out the playing field for a nasty swamp. The sport actually came about from Finnish cross-country skiers looking for a way to train during the summer months. As the swamp makes your legs heavier moving around boosts your heart rate and gets those upper legs in fine form.

Mobile Phone Throwing World Championship

And let’s not forget the Mobile Phone Throwing World Championship where contestants are judged on technique and distance in four categories: Original (over the shoulder throw), Freestyle (extra points for creativity here), Team Original (three competitors with one throw each) and the Junior category (for kids twelve and younger).  Although I’m sure anyone can practice at any time if they start losing bars.

So, when planning your next vacation, if you feeling like tossing your mobile phone or a boot, check out the extreme championships in Finland.  Even if you find them bizarre, at least the music will be good.