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Art & Soul...& Science
December 26, 2012
Sweden holds annual Santa contest
Posted by Staff

Since 2003, the small mining town of Gallivare, Sweden, has drawn contestants from around the world to resolve an important matter: Who is the best Santa in the world? The competitors, who take part in such important Santa-related events as sleigh pushing, mechanical-reindeer riding and porridge eating, are generally jolly men who sport silver hair and red cheeks. But this year’s silver medalist — along with many medal winners of the past four years — breaks the mold. They’re the Santas from Hong Kong.

Meet Ho Wing-leong, a 130-lb. 21-year-old magician who competes in the Santa Winter Games under the moniker Santa Rainbow. Even though he might seem to have little going for him besides a convenient surname, Ho’s appearance at the games was the result of hard work and not a little financial assistance. To be chosen for the competition, he first had to defeat other contestants in qualifier events back in subtropical Hong Kong. Then he participated in a rigorous 10-day boot camp, paid for by Sun Hung Kai Properties, one of Hong Kong’s largest developers, which covers all the expenses necessary for Santa training, including importing a Swedish sled to practice with. (Wheels, however, had to be attached, since Hong Kong is devoid of snow.)
12/26/12 6:39 AM
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