The 2006 Olympic silver medal skip, Markku (M-15) Uusipaavalniemi, has arrived in O’vik (Örnsköldsvik) for the Le Gruyère European Championships. He arrived in a silver-plated sleigh pulled by Finnish reindeer and accompanied by a convoy of 200 portable saunas.
Well, no, not quite.
But M-15 is in fact in Sweden, cheering on the Finnish men’s and women’s teams which are both toiling in the B-Division. And that rather ludicrous paragraph about sleighs and saunas was directly inspired by the rampant online craziness the tech-savvy Finnish people unleashed on the world at the height of Markku Mania in 2006.
It’s great stuff. And very, very weird. Like this one titled Emperor Uusipaavalniemi and the Klingons in peace talks.
And this one, Uusipaavalniemi Industries enter eCurling market, where M-15 “has a unique vision of the future of curling. He believes the next Olympic curling in 2010 will take place on screen rather than on ice. Using modern technology Uusis can streamline logistics and focus on the core business – humiliating Canada using the LAST STONE.”
Then of course there was the infamous Uusis: You Are Mighty webpage which, sadly, doesn’t exist anymore. Too bad, because that one was unbelievably weird.
As the English-born journalist William Moore, who lives in Finland, told us that year:
The You Are Mighty page is simply an indication of the early-adopter computer smarts of the Finns. Markku Uusipaavalniemi is also already being heavily “photoshopped” by the crowd that do that sort of thing. Finns are into technical stuff.
(See mock computer game cover image above)
There was even one quote from a chat room that went something like: “This Uusipaavalniemi guy has been some use after all. I told the kids that Uusis had to keep a night light on by his bed, because the dark was scared of Uusis, and now the kids aren’t scared of the dark any more, because Uusis isn’t.”
Indeed, that one reminds us of the classic Chuck Norris tough-guy jokes, which were then incorporated (of course) by Uusis’ growing legion of fans/jokesters.
Some others we love:
• UIOC takes great leap in basic calculus – “The Uusis Institute of Curling today published their latest endeavor on solving the mysteries of basic calculus...”
• Judgement Day – “Finnish people face the morning of the SHOWDOWN with mixed feelings. Intelligence indicates that the Finnish Curling Force is facing a difficult challenge - the Canadian Curling Army outnumbers the finns a thousand to one. Led by Marshal C.G.E Uusipaavalniemi and armed with STONES and BROOMS the thousand fFnnish curling enthusiasts face a million Canadians...”
• Definition of Uusis – “Renowned for his piercing stare and accuracy. Famous for leading the coveted Curling-Lifestyle.”
• Markku Uusipaavalniemi receives Markku of the Year award - “The award is given on the basis of SHEER AWESOMENESS. It is known around the world and is often compared to the Nobel prizes. ‘Cowabunga!’ comments Uusipaavalniemi. Markku has won each time the prizes have been awarded. Go Uusis.”
• Markku performs hostile takeover of Ferrari S.p.A by accident – “Earlier this morning there was unfortunate mishap in Italy. The Finnish Olympic curling team, lead by ‘Massimo’ Uusipaavalniemi, were conducting some undercover training to avoid Canadian spies. Even the GREATEST PEOPLE EVER sometimes make mistakes and this was the day for Uusipaavalniemi: Markku made the mistake of confusing a RED Ferrari Enzo sportscar at FULL SPEED for a RED Canadian curler. His last stone tore the Ferrari in half...”
M-15 is a very politically-correct politician these days, so he’s probably happy to see much of the online madness slowly disappearing from the world wide web. To be replaced, of course, by his own very political website.
And as far as we know, M-15 still owns the curling club which he partially financed and built prior to his 2006 success. And because of this he would really, really like to see the Finnish men, in particular, make it back to the Olympic Games in 2010.
The odds are against them, but the odds were against Uusis back in the fall of 2005, too (look for “Two incredible stories to tell”). In similar fashion, Kalle Kiiskinen’s team needs to make it all the way out of the Euro B-Division to challenge Sweden in a best-of-three for the final spot at the Ford Worlds in March... and then they have to do really well in Moncton to qualify for Vancouver.
But as Uusis proved almost three years ago, anything is possible... when You Are Mighty!
And some more ...
• Speaking of Finland, this curling feature is a decent read ...
• Speaking of the ECC 08, this is the local Allehanda interviewing Anette Norberg (in Swedish) ...
• Here be a YouTube video on construction of the 2010 curling venue, called Vancouver Olympic Centre ...
• Say what? Jim Bender wonders if Mixed Doubles “could kill curling” ...
• This curling column by Steve Buist calls attention to skimpy playdown signups (what else is new?) and an endorsement of Curling Etcetera ...
• Here’s a curling primer from a place we haven’t heard of before: Wenatchee, Washington ...
• DID YOU KNOW: that stones from a former Ottawa-area club have ended up in North Carolina? Anyone care to guess the name of the now defunct Ottawa-area club?
• 70-year-old Ontarian Tom Howat is off to Scotland ...
• And finally, this reporter tried curling, and is in a world of hurt as a result. Respect! (And try it again sometime!)