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5 Most Dangerous Contests

The World Sauna Championships

Could anyone go for a steam? How about guaranteed burns and suffocation? The World Sauna Championships are far more intense than a little sweating with the guys following a racquetball match. In fact, we can't even say "the World Sauna Championships are" because, as of 2010, they ceased to exist [source: Vallis]. But more on that later.

The contest held in Finland was one of attrition. Competitors sat in a sauna with temperatures up to 230 degrees Fahrenheit (110 degrees Celsius.) That's hot enough to cause blistering within minutes and make your throat feel, as one contestant described it, "as if someone had stuck a tiki torch down it" [source: Vallis]. Water was dumped on the smoldering sauna rocks periodically to make the conditions even more miserable. One by one, contestants would decide they couldn't take it anymore and bolt for the door. Typically a winner would be declared in six to 10 minutes.

In 2010, The World Sauna Championships came to a disastrous end when a dual between finalists Vladimir Ladyzhensky and Timo Kaukonen ended with Ladyzhensky dead and Kaukonen hospitalized. The event hasn't been held since [source: Vallis].