Weird and wonderful Scandinavian sports

Lili Bidwell 17 January 2017

Sports vary in different cultures, and the traditions are always bound to be different. But the different climate in Scandinavia means that there are many wierd and wonderful sports that us Brits might never have imagined. The snow and ice have largely influences the sporting culture of these countries, which are in fact the birthplaces of many Winter sports.

Ice Yacht Races: A sport first done in 1901, ice yachts are designed to race across frozen lakes and fjords. The sport originated in Sweden, with the Stockholm Ice Yacht Club, and has developed over the years, becoming increasingly modern. It all started with a skater being pulled across the ice by a kite, but now ice yachts can hold up to 6 or 7 people, and are specifically designed to reach top speeds of up to 90 miles an hour in good wind.

Handball: A sport that has recently become more popular worldwide, in fact originated in Scandinavia. The Danish men’s handball team recently won Gold at the Rio Olympics, and are highly celebrated in Denmark.

The Fitness craze: Due to the fact that sport is not the same as it is in Britain, in Scandinavia, there are rarely opportunities to play team sports at school, which means that the majority of young people who pursue sport do so through external clubs and organisations. However, in recent years there has been a shift amongst young people to quit organised sport all together and instead to focus in their fitness instead. This has led to many more commercial gyms popping up in these countries as people are increasingly interested in working out in the gym as opposed to playing team sports.

Wife Carrying: Perhaps the strangest of all sports, this originated in Sonkajarvi, Finland, and the world championships of this sport has been help there since 1997. This sport is fairly self-explanatory and consists of men carrying their wives across an obstacle course, and the fastest couple win. The wife’s weight is measured in beer and the prizes are determined by the different weights of the women.

Cross-country Skiing: This sport is at the heart of Norwegian culture. Where it used to be a means of transport, skiing has become a sociable sporting activity in Norway, and there are trails for cross-country skiing all over the country. Bandy: Another traditional Scadinavian sport is bandy, in Sweden this aport is most popular, with their being a very strong public following of this hocket-like sport. In terms of licensed athletes this is the second largest Winter sport in the world, and Sweden has won the national championship multiple times.

Speed Skating: This sport consists of athletes racing each other various distances on ice skates, there are shorter sprints but also marathon distances. This spport originated in Scandinavia and the Netherlands and remains very popular in these countries, particularly the Netherlands and Norway. It acheived Olympic status in 1924, when the Winter Olympics was held in Chamonix.