Finland’s weirdest sports you’ve probably never seen

The weirdest sports in Finland means that most of the population is active in some form of health activity.

True Finnish sports to non-Finns looks weird. Thigs like harness racing, folk racing, tour skating, disc golf, and more are not the usual American pastimes. That doesn’t mean these sports are any less fun or interesting.

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You might have seen on TV or YouTube a world championship for wife-carrying. While that might seem strange and weird in a sports clip show, it is a fully-fledged (but niche) sport in Finland.

Aesthetic Group Gymnastics is a slight variation of conventional gymnastics in that judges award scores for style, performance, showmanship, skill, and precision. Think of ribbons, mixed with apparatus gymnastics – in a group. It is highly skilled and great to spectate too.

Disc golf is a fairly new Finnish sport. Outside of the Scandinavian countries, it is growing slowly. In Finland, it is the fastest-growing sport. It is a new take on golf, using frisbees. It is played on similar venues as golf, but in public parks, sports grounds, camping grounds, ski resorts and also dedicated disc golf courses. It is fun for the whole family – and that is what is driving its popularity and growth in Finland and the rest of the Scandinavian countries.

Tour skating is also a popular pastime. With 178,000 lakes in Finland, they are all frozen solid for 5 to 7 months a year. Tour skating is using these lakes to travel across them to the small islands usually located in the lakes, or to nearby villages, towns and cities. It is similar to cross-country skiing, but it is a leisure activity instead of a timed race or event like cross-country skiing.

Ice swimming is not for the faint of heart. Participants must swim a certain distance in rivers, lakes, and pools that have been frozen solid. Holes are cut in the ice and competitors race each other across these sections. It is actually most popular with women in Finland.

Folk racing is a cheap and accessible form of motorsport. Just about anyone can enter and participate, and the rules are very easy to follow: cars must be valued at a certain value (usually about $500) and competitors can buy their rivals cars from them anytime – and you can’t refuse to sell. Courses are short, racing is fast, and the fun factor is through the roof.

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