Topless tobogganists crave national arena

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Photo: Terje Bendiksby/Scanpix
15:12 CET+01:00
With the annual topless tobogganing world championships just two months away, the competition’s Norwegian organizers believe it’s time for the sport to get its own national arena.

Fans of the half-naked sliders have flocked to Laukvik, in the Arctic Circle, for the first two editions of the contest. 

“Ski jumpers have Holmenkollen and track and field athletes have Bislett. Our hill facilities should be the national arena for naked tobogganists,” championship architect Sten Hansen told national broadcaster NRK.

In 2010, some 500 people watched bare-chested Norwegian sledders barrel down the village’s hills. A year later, 1,000 spectators looked on as 30 entrants tumbled semi-clad through the Arctic snow for the inaugural World Championships, he said.

“It’s quite incredible considering there are only 450 people here in Laukvik,” said Hansen.

While he harbours hopes of the village securing national arena status, Hansen conceded this remained something of a pipe dream.

“We’re not affiliated with the Norwegian Olympic Committee yet, so we have some way to go. We’re also some distance away from recognition as an Olympic sport,” he said.

Hansen, the self-styled “topless general”, expects the number of participants and spectators to set new records when the tobogganists disrobe for this year’s competition on March 17th.

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For the first time, the competition will include categories for the fastest women and men, as well as a special mention for the best winter body.

Facebook page: Topless tobogganing World Championships (in Norwegian).

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