When: August (but not any more)
The World Sauna Championships isn’t held any more, so hold your horses before you rush out to buy plane tickets to Finland. The event was held every August between 1999 and 2010, but was considered to be too dangerous to continue after the death and near death of two of the competitors. The two, Vladimir Ladyzhensky and Timo Kaukonen (who was a five-time champion, so no novice!) both passed out after enduring six minutes in the sauna, suffering from burns and trauma.
The rules of the competition were as follows:
- The starting temperature is 110 degrees Celsius. Half a litre of water will be poured on the stove every 30 seconds.
- Use of alcohol is prohibited prior to and during the competition.
- Competitors must wash themselves beforehand, and remove any creams and lotions.
- Competitor must sit erect, their buttocks and thighs on the bench.
- Ordinary swimsuits must be used. Pant legs in men’s swimsuits may be up to 20 centimeters long, and women’s shoulder straps may be up to 5 centimeters wide.
- Hair that reaches the shoulders must be tied into a ponytail.
- Touching the skin and brushing is prohibited.
- Competitors must not disturb each other.
- At the request of the judges, competitors must show that they are in their senses with a thumbs up.
- Competitors must be able to leave the sauna unaided to qualify.
- A breach of the rules results in a warning. Another one results in disqualification.
- The last person leaving the sauna unaided is the winner.
Must have been a thrill a minute to watch when no-one was being rushed out by paramedics!
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