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Happier days. Only Hämäläinen could pull off the very dangerous dümpfplaschkenlik maneuver with weight on his back.

Happier days. Only Hämäläinen could pull off the very dangerous dümpfplaschkenlik maneuver with weight on his back.

For a sport known for its purity of purpose, the news from Helsinki was like a nuclear bomb detonating. Yesterday at a hastily assembled press conference, the world’s most celebrated Nordic walker, Jukka Hämäläinen, announced his retirement after rumors in Nordic walking forums that his motivations were less than perfect. Red-faced and barely speaking above a whisper, Hämäläinen said, “I admit it. The post-walking parties, the girls, and, most of all, the compensation were what drove me. I’m embarrassed to say that I was just in it for the money.”

A reporter from well-known Nordic walking magazine, Stridensplätz, asked, “Is it true that in a drunken moment, you told onlookers that Nordic walking was, and I quote, ‘Really nothing more than walking with sticks’?”

Hämäläinen mumbled a barely audible “yes.” The assembled media gasped, then began packing their gear. What more, really, could be said?

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Photo by Shutterstock


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Steve Casimiro is the editor of Adventure Journal. Follow him on Instagram at @stevecasimiro.

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