Scary sports

The Norwegian football season has begun, but since it is still early days all the attention is on things that really matter in sport, like the Champions League, whether or not the curling team can wear spectacular yet non-clown trousers, and picking up dog droppings off the artificial turf in Stavanger. No, the really interesting sports news here is in other disciplines.

And by interesting I mean terrifying.

A scary career in the making is taking place in the very rare niche of Norwegian boxing. I really don’t have too much to say about Arild ‘The Hulk’ Haugen except that it took no imagination to come up with his name. None. Except noticing he isn’t green.

As proof of this I will insert his Facebook profile pic here, but if he complains you can bet I will be taking it down quickly.

Non-green Norwegian Hulk.

Mr. Haugen has left the world strongman circuit, where he was very highly regarded,  in favor of fisticuffs, and is off to three straight victories. He is clearly aiming to gain experience and momentum slowly and has yet to fight anyone much more ringwise than himself. There is a fascinating contrast between his nascent skills and his absolutely panic-inducing physique and strength.

The 1.89 meter (6’-2.5”), and 135kg (300-lb) ‘Hulk’ won his first fight in 45 seconds, and his second ended just before the bell halted round one. On Easter he fought Jean Vidal Yemou from the Ivory Coast. Yemou, who only had amateur experience before the bout – though this doesn’t mean he has necessarily less boxing mileage than Haugen – lost by TKO in the fourth round. It was claimed that Yemou had suffered a broken rib, but I have not seen this confirmed anywhere. He was in pain and didn’t want to continue.

To learn more about Hulk Haugen, visit his personal web site, which is full of video fight clips and all breaking news. It also gives a good indication of his sheer physical power, and the impression that this really is a guy who only needs to get half lucky once a fight to produce bone-shattering results.

But Hulk wasn’t actually the recent sports item that scared me most. It was the news that cross-country skier Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen is going to compete in the Norwegian biathlon championship this weekend after one training session.

Now biathletes often hone their physical condition and even win cross-country events. I know very little about this, but I would imagine that the opposite migration, which Uhrenholdt Jacobsen is planning, must be very rare. Because biathletes FIRE GUNS.

Astrid’s one practice session with rifle was her first since last year, when she also took part and helped lead her team to last place.

“I hope to avoid last place on Friday and Sunday, and not to miss too much. But I’m not going to hide if I do badly either, I’m not expecting to do well,” she told newspaper VG.

I’m sure she’s reasonably good at it, but I can’t think of an event I am less motivated to watch live than untrained rifle shooting.

Maybe sport is the way to popularize this blog. I couldn’t help but notice that covering the National Topless Sledding Championships last time led to record traffic. But that might have a lot to do with having the word topless in it. This will be the only time I repeat it purely on cynical traffic promoting grounds.


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