Saturday, August 14, 2010

Why World Sauna Championships Suck

The World Sauna Championships were an annual endurance contest held in Heinola, Finland from 1999 to 2010. The championships began with preliminary rounds and ended in the finals, where the best six men and women would see who could sit in the sauna the longest. The starting temperature in the men's competition was 110 ºC (230 °F). Half a liter of water was poured on the stove every 30 seconds. The winner was the last person to stay in the sauna and walk out without outside help. On August 7th, 2010, Russian finalist and former third-place finisher Vladimir Ladyzhensky and Finnish five-time champion Timo Kaukonen, passed out after seven minutes in the sauna, both suffering from terrible burns and trauma. They were both rushed to the hospital but Ladyzhensky died en route. Kaukonen was reported to suffer from extreme burn injuries, and his condition was described as critical, but stable. The competition was suspended and the organizer, Ossi Arvela, said that there will probably never be another sauna competition.

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