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The World Sauna Championships 2010

Watched a somewhat disturbing mini-documentary yesterday. This may be a somewhat disturbing post too, note! Don't read if you don't want to.

Have you ever heard of the World Sauna Championships? That took place in Finland on a yearly basis up until 2010? Where each year contestants would gather in a small sauna, with a starting temperature of 110°C, where half a liter of water was poured on the stones every thirty seconds, until all but one contestant stumbled out of the room. The last contestant to get out of the room UNAIDED won the championship.

2010 they upped the stakes a bit. The sauna was a bit more extreme than before. Russian Vladimir Ladyzhensky and Finn Timo Kaukonen battled it out to the bitter end... when Timo collapsed, and they were assisted out of the room. The Russian had to be dragged out - he couldn't move - and even after a successful resuscitation he died on the spot. Apparently he had anesthetic cream on his skin, and had taken strong painkillers before the competition, which was not allowed, and maybe also the reason he died.

Timo on the other hand made it out alive, was taken to the hospital with severe burns as layers of skin literally loosened from his body, and he fell into a coma for six weeks. He remembers nothing of the competition. It was a painful recovery, yet even now, with burn marks and scars covering his body, he sits in the sauna daily, and wishes the competitions would start again.

He has no qualms with the arrangers of the event that caused him so much pain. He sees it as an unfortunate event, but he loves the sport, and he's sad that after this tragedy no more competitions take place.

What's somehow even more unfair is that a contestant who both of these two champions outlasted officially won this championship that year - without undergoing any of this suffering - since he was able to leave the sauna on his own earlier. And is thus recorded as the final winner of these championships. Ever. For all he went through Timo deserved that spot IMO.

I wonder, if the Russian hadn't taken those painkillers, would he have left earlier? Would he have lived? Would Timo have gotten out of there without those burns, as well, and been the victor? Would the yearly championship's have continued henceforth? And could they then have kept going without severe injury, or was it inevitable that eventually they'd up the stakes too much; push themselves too far; not know or care for their limitations?

The reason they suffered such severe burns is apparently because the water tank released more water than it was supposed to as well, and essentially boiled the two contestants alive. But to win an extreme sport you need extreme fortitude, so they withstood the pain beyond what's humanly possible; beyond the point of no return. Those pain receptors are there for a reason after all...

It reminds me a bit of that one guy (Francisco Lázaro) who ran an Olympic marathon in the 1910's, and died of a heatstroke since he'd covered his body in wax (suet, more specifically) as sun lotion, and it covered his pores and made it impossible for the body to regulate heat via sweat. He was the first person to die in an Olympic event. Of course it's a different case since his death wasn't by direct cause of the competition, but his use of wax does feel a bit similar to Vladimir's use of anesthetic cream, also in a competition where such a concoction would theoretically improve his performance and give him a better chance of winning.

He probably wasn't the first one to use wax for such purposes, but maybe the first to die for it. Back before they knew about heat regulation, I suppose. Back before regular sun lotion was a thing. He was too but a victim of unfortunate circumstance, attempting to ride out the limitations of the human body...

I guess the moral of these stories is to trust your body.

Don't cheat. Don't attempt to do something you wouldn't be capable of doing without assistance.

This also made me think of Hisashi Ouchi, a worker involved in creating fuel rods for an experimental plant in Japan, who during a time of inadequate regulations or knowledge of the dangers thereof used a little too high a dose of radioactive chemicals, causing a reaction that exposed him to the highest dose of radiation any human has ever been exposed to thus far - and survived. He was taken to the hospital in a terrible state, and kept on life support for eighty-three days, in excruciating pain, wishing to die, as doctors used him as a case study on the effects of radiation.

^ One of many incidents that has made me very skeptical in regard to the future use and potential benefits of nuclear energy.

In the case of the sauna championships though surely we knew it wasn't a healthy sport from the start.

Whereas that wax was a creative approach to keeping out harmful UV radiation these tournaments were just straight up madness. How many braincells did contestants lose during the years leading up to this tragic finale? Surely there have to be worse consequences to sitting in a 110°C room than your heart-rate going close to 200 BPM and occasional blisters forming on your skin.

The pain's the threshold. The fact that these guys surpassed it, voluntarily, to the point of death and third-degree burns... just feels very disturbing. And watching actual footage from said contest is no less so.

I'm glad I learned more of this legend, because he really was - and is - a remarkably strong-willed man, but at the same time I kind of wish I didn't.

He reached a level of fortitude it seems nobody should have. The will to surpass the body's built in defenses against danger. The mind overpowering it's common cage. Voluntarily subjecting itself to this level of damage.

It's kind of haunting.

Sometimes You Find Yourself In The Middle Of Nowhere...

Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere. And sometimes in the middle of nowhere you find yourself.

Reactions, Rabbit Holes & Boden!

Post time's been sparse lately, but just so y'all know I'm living the life over here! For the most part. When I don't end up going down unhealthily long rabbit holes of reaction videos I thought I'd never see a reason to watch... but I understand now. I understand the appeal.

Seeing people get introduced to artists you enjoy is maybe a bit like reliving the experience of being introduced to them yourself. Back in the day.

It's nostalgic, and also gratifying how the things that resonate with you resonate with others, though at the same time what kind of world do we live in when we don't share such gratification first-hand, with people in our near vicinity? Instead we turn to strangers, who maybe have more charm and/or more tact in their reactions than people we know. Or just the time. To react in the first place. While we waste ours watching their reactions.

It's a strange phenomena isn't it?

Sometimes you learn a thing or two as well. Sometimes they catch nuances you didn't catch yourself. If you watch a specialist reaction you can for example learn how false vocal cords let the amazing Tatiana growl in Pisces, by Jinjer, or what the green color palette in NF's videos do to your mood, or how they manage so precise camera movements in Hopsin's recent videos (it's a Kira).

All this is plain and good but... I really will never understand how some people just watch other people play games. When they could play themselves. What's the point in watching a game?

I mean I hope I won't ever understand that. I hope I don't stumble into that rabbit hole too. I'm getting into more than enough rabbit holes lately.

I did however take a refreshing step away from all these sometimes so superficial aspects of the digital realm for a while, and visit good buddy Andreas up in Boden! After those intense B-day celebrations last week. To venture out in a winter we don't much have here, and catch some sunrays reflected on the massive scopes of snow they have up there. Like for real.

Here's me in Boden.

The Me (In A Mound) Boden

Read on...

Treat Somebody Like A Celebrity...

Treat someone like a celebrity and they'll treat you like a fan.

No Matter What The Weather Is Like...

No matter what the weather is like, bring your own sunshine!

Paraphrased I think! Originally maybe said by Anthony J. Angelo.

Fat Tuesday 2023

Fat Tuesday 2023

Almost forgot to post this this year! Just like I almost forgot about the day itself, but fortunately my nephew was visiting, and we met up with my sister and her boyfriend, and they bought semlor.

He'd been taste-testing different café variants for days prior too. There's a real semel aficionado right there! My own passion pales in comparisson.

So thank you Leif.

He bought the gluten-free special you see above from Tösses - a renowned Stockholm bakery - they already had orders for at least a thousand semlor when he stopped by, just before time came for the traditional Swedish Fika (that Wikipedia article apparently doesn't know that customary fika time here is either 11 AM and/or 3 PM - in workplaces usually both).

And it was delicious. A little rubbery, like the gluten-free alternations tend to be, but good. Fresh vanilla cream and plenty of cardamom.

You can see last year's semla here. :) Had that one with the same buddy I'm flying up to visit tomorrow, some things really are becoming routine...

No alternative home-made semlor this year though - parents actually did forget! But we've been partying all weekend and then some, with multiple cakes, and they're old, so maybe that's acceptable just this once.

Happy (slightly belated only in posting) Fat Tuesday y'all.

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