Finland – Champions of Championships

Wife carrying, mobile phone throwing and air guitar playing. Finland is the host of some of the more curious World Championships.

By Morten Refsgaard

Helsinki, Finland: Finland is probably the World Champion of World Championships. Every year, the Finns are hosting many such events – most of them ranging from slightly odd to outright bizarre.

Take for example wife carrying, held since 1992 in Sonkajarvi. The goal of this competition is quite simply for a husband to carry his wife through a 253.5 metres long obstacle course in the fastest manner possibly. Current holders of the title are Finns Taisto Miettinen and Kristiina Haapalainen.

Karaoke, air guitar and mobile phone throwing
Other events include the Karaoke World Championships, Air Guitar World Championships and the Mobile Phone Throwing World Championships, where contestants battle each other to see who can throw a phone the furthest – or as in the Freestyle event, where they are not judged on the length of the throw, but purely on the style.

As with other sports, these events cannot escape scandals and tragedies. In 2010, the final of the Sauna World Championships was cut short, when Russian contestant Vladimir Ladyzhenskiv succumbed to the temperature of above 110 degrees Celsius and died. This marked the final chapter in the history of the competition, as the organisers vowed not to hold another event.