Friday, August 1, 2014

Sports idols: Finnish sports idols and fan culture

Probably the most famous Finnish sportsmen: Jari Litmanen (soccer), Kiira Korpi (figure skating), Kimi Räikkönen (Formula 1), Matti Nykänen (ski jumping) and Teemu Selänne (ice hockey)

The special exhibition named "urheiluidolit" (sports idols) presents Finnish sports idols and fan culture in three museums: Sports museum (Helsinki), Ski museum (Lahti) and the Finnish hockey hall of fame (Tampere). Each museum presents diffrent aspects of fan and fan cultures.

In Helsinki, the exhibition focuses on the sporting heroes from the past and now. The soccer culture is quite strong in the capital city, and as the museum is located just next door to the main football stadium, a wide part of the museum is dedicated to the football fan culture. Finns are naturally proud of the national team but many are following faithfully the English League clubs. But cherry on the cake: the fan that you are can take a picture with his/her idol or send him/her a message!

Fan mail to Veikko Kankkonen

On the second floor of the ski museum in Lahti are presented the local fan culture and the good and bad sides of fame. There is an impressive collection of fan mail the ski jumper Veikko Kankkonen who was active in the 60 received during his career. Did he had time to answer all of them? You can write the name of your idol and glue the heart-shaped post-it on a black wall. Who wrote Justin Bieber? There is also a little living room where you can watch videos of your idols telling something about fans and how they began their sport (in Finnish).

Selänne, Häkkinen, Mäkinen, Saarinen, Ahonen, Pitkämäki: who will you add to the wall?

In Tampere the Finnish hockey fan culture is represented by a group of supporters who have travelled with the national team for decades. Legendary heroes such as Teemu Selänne and emerging talent Mikael Granlund are of course part of the exhibition.

When the ski jumper Janne Ahonen became World champion in 2005

AmazingFinland has only visited the exhibition in Lahti. Was it worth? Yes, it was. We are all fan of someone (or have been) and watching this exhibition is like looking through a mirror. Watching a game at TV or in a crowded bar or beeing at the stadium screeming to encourage our fav, we all do/did it. It is very interesting to notice that wherever we are from, we are all the same. The exhibition teaches us how Finns really love their athletes and how Finns are also loved from abroad. In the back of the room, there is a kind of smaller room with posters on the wall, postcards under the glass of the table on which there are folders. While opening these folders, we can find some articles cut from newspapers during many years such as on the picture above.

Sports museum in Helsinki (until October 12th, 2014)
Mon–Fri 11 am–5 pm
Sat–Sun 12 am–4 pm
Ticket: 5€/3€
Free for visitors under 18

Ski museum in Lahti (until December 31, 2015)
Winter time: Tue–Fri 9 am–4 pm, Sat–Sun 11 am–5 pm
Summer time (June 10th-August 31st): Tue–Fri 10 am–5 pm, Sat–Sun 11 am–5 pm
Ticket: 7€/6€/3€

Finnish hockey hall of fame in Tampere (until March 1st, 2015)
Tue-Sun 10am- 6pm
Ticket: 9€/7€/3€

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