In counting down to the 2010 winter olympics the guardian posted an article about Matti Nykänen, one of Finlands’ greatest athletes. His record in ski jumping is awesome, but he is just as famous in Finland for his private life which is so colourful and disastrous that it almost eclipses his sporting achievements. Brits could easliy compare him to George Best, but that would be a little tough on Matti. Best was an alcoholic and playboy, but that’s just incomparable to Mattis’ CV. Try Alcoholic, pop star, stripper, attempted murderer, celebrity chef.
But how can a person who can achieve so much also be so self destructive and incompetent in other areas of life? A new theory of behavioural genetics might be of help to Matti. It’s called the Orchid hypothesis and it says that while most of us are born ‘dandelions’ in that we can take root almost anywhere and thrive, some are born ‘orchids’ and in many situations don’t thrive, but in ideal conditions can be truly remarkable.
In other words the things that helped to make Matti one of the best ski jumpers and athletes in history also may contribute to his inability to fit into society normally. Anyway Finns cherish Matti as an orchid already, if he were to become suddenly well adjusted we would have lost a well loved institution.
He also has a great turn of phrase able to utter delphic truths in the great sportsmen tradition.
- Tekemätöntä ei saa tekemättömäksi
What is not done, cannot be undone
- Jokainen tsäänssi on mahdollisuus!
Every chance is an opportunity!
- Huominen on aina tulevaisuutta.
Tomorrow is always the future.
- Elämä on laiffii.
Living is life.
- Se on ihan fifty-sixty miten käy.
The odds are fifty-sixty.
- No pilluhan se on aina mielessä mutta hypätään nyt ensin!
Pussy is always on my mind, but I’ll jump first (when a reporter asked Matti what he has in his mind)
- Rakkaus on kuin lankakerä ? se alkaa ja loppuu.
Love is like a ball of wool ? it starts and it ends.
A documentary of Sebastien Foucan the originator of parkour or free running jumping London. (via)
If Scotland beat on Georgia at Hampden Park this Saturday they will become Football World Champions at least according to the Unofficial Football Championships. The UFWC is based on a knock out system like that of boxing where the holder keeps the title until beaten. Current holders are Georgia but Scoland can become Champions for four days until they take on Italy where they will have a chance to unify the FIFA and UFWC championships and become undisputed champions of the world. Come on Scotland!
We won messily 2-1, so we are World Champions for a couple of days at least.
Scotland were easily beaten 2-0!
The biggest sporting competition in the world is hosted by Germany this
year the 2006 World Cup. The backdrop of this are the stadiums of
Germany perhaps the highlight being the new Herzhog & De Meuron’s Allianz Arena.
While this is the architectural highlight of the World Cup, the actual
final will take place in Berlin’s Olympic stadium designed by Werner
March for the notorious ’36 Olympic Games. This brings me to one of the
highlights of modern German architectural heritage. Here is the only
country in the world which has seen majour architectural statements
from the main three competing political ideologies in the world in the
I spent most of yesterday at work in a quiet frenzy at work because of the Cricket. I was so tense I could hardly concentrate on anything else but the Radio coverage on the internet all passed by obliviously by my Finnish work colleagues. Such are these times you truely feel like a fish out of the water and yesterday was the first time for a long time I truely wished I was in a pub in central London with a few friends not so quietly toasting the return of the ashes after 16 years. Strange how the cultural dividing line can become a sporting occasion which engulfs one nation and which I quietly shared as an expat by proxy in turns feeling sickness, relief and elation while the rest of the world around me passed by in ignorance.
We went to the Olympic stadium on the last Friday of the 2005 World athletics championships. The Venue of Helsinki and the stadium was a last minute venue after London pulled out, and although they lost money they also didn’t do much in the away of upgrading the stadium beforehand. I was reminded about this when I read a piece about it in axis of aevil so I thought I’d post something about it. Most people going there must have noticed the flaking paint round the windows and worn away veneer on the timber cladding. I thought that it was a refreshing change to acknowledge the age of the facility and not bankrupt the country for the sake of the national image (see this article on the greek olympic debacle).The stadium also is really nice and the style for me recalls an earlier less professional sporting age now sadly long gome. After the games there have been some calls to build a new stadium or upgrade this one which seems a bit of an odd choice of where to spend the money if it may not be used properly. See also the original Hesingin Sanomat article. Photo above by me (I got three before the batteries went)of 1952 Olympic stadium designed by Yrjö Lindgren & Toivo Jäntti renovated by Markku Aalto 1994. Update bbc article also found re greek stadium