Man Dies in 230° Sauna Contest

Two finalists were removed with severe burns
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 8, 2010 11:04 AM CDT
Man Dies in 230° Sauna Contest
Russia's Vladimir Ladyzhenskiy is removed from the sauna during the final at the World Sauna Championships in Heinola, Finland, on Saturday, Aug. 7, 2010.   (Sari Gustafsson)

A Russian trying to win the Sauna World Championships died after collapsing with severe burns in the final stage of an event that required contestants to sit in a 230-degree room as water was tossed onto a searing stove. Vladimir Ladyzhenskiy, an amateur wrestler in his 60s, was pronounced dead late yesterday after he collapsed alongside reigning champion Timo Kaukonen of Finland roughly six minutes into the final round.

Video footage shows workers pouring cold water over the two men and administering first aid as organizers tried to cover up the scene and calm spectators. The men were bleeding from what appeared to be severe burns, said one onlooker. Kaukonen, about 40, was hospitalized in stable condition today. The annual contest had been held since 1999. It will never be held again, a spokesman said. There was no prize other than "some small things," he said, adding that all rules were followed and temperatures were similar to those in previous years.
For previous coverage of the event, click here and here.
(Read more wrestler stories.)

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