Finland, home of the IAAF World U20 Championships, and Santa Claus

From July 10-15, 2018, the world's best U20 track and field athletes converge upon the beautiful country of Finland for the annual IAAF World U20 Championships. But how much do you know about Finland? Yes, there's a Santa Claus Village, as the Finns claim (among others) the origin of St. Nick, but you probably had an inkling about this due to its geography and proximity to the North Pole.

Santa Claus Village

So let's catch up on Facts about Finland.

1. It's technically called the Republic of Finland.

2. It borders Sweden, Norway and Russia.

3. It has a population of 5.5 million.

4. Helsinki is the capital.

5. The Evangelical Lutheran Church is Finland's largest religious body.

6. Pesapallo, which resembles baseball, is the national sport.

7. It's the eighth-largest country in Europe, but the EU's most sparsely populated.

8. 187,888 lakes - not a misprint!

9. Each October 13th, there's an annual Day of Failure celebration.

10. Try the Pizza Berlusconi - secret ingredient? Smoked reindeer.

11. The average Finn consumes 12kg of coffee per year and and an average of 1 liter of milk per day.

12. In July, the city of Sonkajarvi hosts the Wife Carrying World Championships.

13. Finnish athletes have won more Summer Olympic medals per capita than any other nation in the world.

The World U20 Championships are being held in the city of Tampere, Finland's third-largest city with a population of just under 250,000

So let's explore Tampere a little.

Tampere is the most-populous inland city of the the Nordic countries, and it's wedged between two lakes - Nasijarvi and Pyhajarvi.

Things to do in Tampere

1. Nasinneula Tower

2. Hatanpaa Arboretum

3. Sarkanniemi

4. Museum Vapriikki

5. Pyynikki Observatory

6. Tampere Cathedral

7. Finnish Hockey Hall of Fame

As soon as the official roster is released, we'll preview Texas athletes representing the USA.

IAAF World U20 Championships website - https://www.iaaf.org/competitions/iaaf-world-u20-championships/iaaf-world-u20-championships-tampere-2018-6082/timetable/byday

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