Finland's Remi Lindholm competes in the men's skiathlon during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games. Photo: ODD ANDERSEN / AFP
For this Finnish cross-country skier, it wasn’t the disappointment of placing 28th in his race at the Winter Olympics that proved unbearably painful. Remi Lindholm told reporters immediately after the race that his penis almost froze as he endured howling winds and freezing weather—the second time in his skiing career, according to Reuters. “You can guess which body part was a little bit frozen when I finished,” said Lindholm. “It was one of the worst competitions I’ve been in… It was just about battling through.”
Frostbite injuries are not uncommon in cross-country skiing, with athletes reporting skin stripped from their fingers and toes on the verge of amputation. Last year, Swedish athlete Calle Halfvarsson shared a similar story to Lindholm’s, saying that he endured agonising pain as his genitals were frozen when competing in a race in Finland. Antarctic adventurer Alex Brazier also fell victim to the condition, known colloquially as “Polar Penis,” during a 1,100-mile trek in 2016.“There’s a phenomenon called polar penis, which sounds hilarious but as it turns out incredibly unpleasant, and really quite painful and cold, so suffering a bit from this morning,” he wrote in a blog post.
“You can guess which body part was a little bit frozen when I finished.”
This year’s Winter Olympics in China are taking place in frigid temperatures and freezing weather. The mass skiing event was delayed by an hour due to on-site organizers’ concerns about frostbite. They had shortened the original 50km course to 30km to protect those competing. Athletes wore underlayers and plasters to cover their faces and ears. But the efforts clearly did little for Lindholm, who had to be treated with a heat pack after arriving at the finish line to thaw out his privates once the race was over. “When the body parts started to warm up after the finish, the pain was unbearable,” he said.Follow Heather Chen on Twitter.