HELSINKI, Finland – Finland is known for several bizarre world championships: The World Sauna Championship, The World Mobile Phone Throwing Championship, The World Wife Carrying Championship, and The World Air Guitar Championship. So it’s only natural the world’s first “Angry Bird Championship” would take place in Finland, albeit only a national championship. Thirty-two finalists from eight Finnish cities gathered in downtown Helsinki this past Saturday for a single elimination tournament. The stakes? Free Nokia N8s and a trip for two to Hollywood for the winner. Click through to see the highlights…
Finns are known to be competitive. The small nation of 5.3 million people has the most Olympic medals per capita in the world. Fortunately, despite a cut-throat atmosphere, injuries at Saturday’s championship were only incurred by green, helmet-wearing pigs.
Hosted by Finnish popstar Kristiina Wheeler, each round consisted of two competitors each playing four Angry Birds levels. The points are totaled and winner advances to the next round. All the devices used during the event were Nokia N8s.
A total of 2,600 participated in the country-wide event and just 32 qualified to the finals. The youngest finalist being just six years old. He had to borrow his father’s smartphone to practice Angry Birds as he didn’t have a phone of his own.
A boyfriend-girlfriend couple made it to the finals as well. The girlfriend came in 2nd place in the city of Turku and qualified for the finals, but the boyfriend did not. So he drove two hours to the city of Lempaala to win the local competition there. Both made it to the final’s Top 8 bracket.
A break took place half way through the event so Finnish celebrities could compete. Kids in the audience would yell out tips and encourage Finnish pro snowboarder Eero Ettala to “try harder!”. The winner and runner-up in last year’s Miss Finland competition were pitted against each other once more, but this time the runner-up Sara Sieppi gained more points that Miss Finland Pia Pakarinen.
The finals were tense but 19-year old Jonas Koivula squeaked out a victory. Jonas just finished his matriculation exams and would play Angry Birds by night as he studied by day. He said he practiced for two months in preparation of the finals. His girlfriend Marika said she was “happy for him” and “knew he’d win”. Soon the two will be off to Hollywood to celebrate. As much as I begged, he decided to take her over me.
Think you’d like to see a Angry Birds championship come to your country?