Skip to content

Finnish fans celebrate 2011 World Championships gold by getting naked

May 16, 2011, 12:40 PM EDT

Comments Off
Sweden v Finland - 2011 IIHF World Championship Getty Images

When the Russian team shocked Canada to win the 2011 World Juniors Championship, I thought their celebration marked a new high in awesome foreign elation. While they technically remain on top since today’s story involves fan celebrations rather than drunken revelry by a team, it’s still going to be tough to top how Finnish people reacted to their team’s 6-1 gold medal win against Sweden in the 2011 World Championships.

Puck Daddy provides links to the photos, first-hand accounts and galleries if you must, but the basic gist is that normally even-keeled Finns let loose by taking off their clothes.

While the tournament isn’t given much attention in the United States, it’s a big draw overseas. If you need any more proof of that, check out this figure from a translated article via Helsingin Sanomat: about 1 out of every 2 Finnish people watched that gold medal game. The local TV telecast reportedly drew about 2.43 million viewers in Finland.

That celebration shows just how long Finland has been waiting for a gold medal in the sport (they last won one in the 1995 World Championships, also against Sweden) and how much they enjoy beating their bitter rivals from Sweden.

That Helsingin Sanomat article captured the, um, free spirited scene in Finland and what could be ahead as the team returns to the country today.

By 1 a.m. on Monday morning, both the Esplanades in downtown Helsinki were packed with jubilant hockey fans, such that the earlier rally of cars hooting their horns and with flags waving from the windows was no longer possible.

The nude statue of Havis Amanda in the Market Square was decorously draped with a Finnish team jersey, and a crowd estimated in the tens of thousands had congregated around the statue in high spirits, some of them stripping down to their underwear and jumping into the chilly water of the fountains.

The national anthem was sung lustily and off-key, people hugged complete strangers, and the crowds turning out to mark only the second-ever win in this competition – after a wait of sixteen years – were a mix of young and old alike. Many had come from bars in the centre of the city, where the match had been watched, first nervously as Sweden edged in front in the second period and then with growing delight and awed disbelief as the Finns drew level and then skated over the horizon.

(snip)

The crowds in Helsinki are likely to be even bigger this evening, when the team – and the World Championship trophy – are presented to the public at a more organised celebration in the Market Square from 19:00 until 22:00, just as occurred on the previous occasion when Finland won the title in 1995, and after Lordi’s Eurovision Song Contest triumph in 2007.

The homecoming event, arranged by the Finnish Ice Hockey Association, will also feature other artists performing, and probably a lot of singing and waving of blue and white flags, as the Finns wash away sixteen years of hurt since the last occasion when they topped the rankings in this sport that is immensely popular hereabouts.

Next time your favorite team – or even better, home country – wins a championship or gold medal, you might want to try to top those Finns. My advice is to let that urge go, unless you want to risk a public indecency wrap.

Latest Posts
  1. Eichel, like McDavid, will showcase his skills in Buffalo this fall

    Aug 27, 2014, 10:49 PM EDT

    Jack Eichel Getty Images

    Of course, neither will be wearing a Sabres’ uniform – not yet at least.

  2. Boston extends affiliation with Providence, Pandolfo named development coach

    Aug 27, 2014, 9:40 PM EDT

    Jay Pandolfo Getty Images

    They’ve also appointed Don Sweeney as the AHL team’s new general manager.

  3. Poll: Was 13-14 a fair representation of what Detroit was capable of?

    Aug 27, 2014, 8:28 PM EDT

    Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg Getty Images

    It matters given that they will start next season with a largely unchanged roster.

  4. Alfredsson’s future remains uncertain with camp looming

    Aug 27, 2014, 7:20 PM EDT

    Daniel Alfredsson Getty Images

    Ken Holland hasn’t been in contact with him lately, but that will change soon.

  5. NHL expansion talks emphatically shot down

    Aug 27, 2014, 1:28 PM EDT

    Bill Daly and Gary Bettman Getty Images

    “We haven’t defined a process and certainly no decisions have been made.”

  6. Under Pressure: Jimmy Howard

    Aug 27, 2014, 1:11 PM EDT

    howardjimmygetty Getty Images

    Needs to bounce back after last year’s disappointing campaign.

  7. Flames re-sign shot-blocking ace Bouma

    Aug 27, 2014, 12:31 PM EDT

    Calgary Flames v New York Islanders Getty Images

    Finished second in the NHL among forwards last year, with 87.

  8. Looking to make the leap: Anthony Mantha

    Aug 27, 2014, 11:39 AM EDT

    AnthonyMantha

    Former Quebec league sniper is gunning for a gig in Detroit.

  9. Report: Rangers show interest in Malone

    Aug 27, 2014, 10:57 AM EDT

    Ryan Malone Getty Images

    Former Tampa Bay forward was bought out of his contract earlier this summer, following legal troubles.

  10. Red Wings’ playoff streak borders on historic, but does it matter?

    Aug 27, 2014, 10:04 AM EDT

    Gustav Nyquist AP

    The Red Wings are rebuilding on the fly, but are they assembling a future Cup contender?

  11. Despite ‘nightmare’ season, Clarkson excited for future

    Aug 27, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

    David Clarkson Getty Images

    He’ll enter the second season of his seven-year, $36.75 million contract.

  12. It’s Detroit Red Wings day on PHT

    Aug 27, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    Henrik Zetterberg Getty Images

    They have made it to the playoffs for 23 straight seasons.

  13. NHL-to-Vegas talks gaining steam

    Aug 26, 2014, 9:57 PM EDT

    NHL Awards - Show Getty Images

    A recent report has added new fuel to the speculation on that subject.

  14. Johnston will enter camp looking for wingers for Malkin

    Aug 26, 2014, 8:30 PM EDT

    Evgeni Malkin Getty Images

    Dupuis and Hornqvist are two of the main options.

  15. Poll: Who should be Columbus’ next captain?

    Aug 26, 2014, 7:23 PM EDT

    Columbus Blue Jackets v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game One Getty Images

    Will they go another season without one?

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. C. Price (1691)
  2. J. Harding (1669)
  3. M. Staal (1528)
  4. J. Giguere (1469)
  5. J. Thornton (1442)
  1. J. Spezza (1254)
  2. A. Semin (1253)
  3. C. MacArthur (1236)
  4. A. Ekblad (1193)
  5. S. Crosby (1065)