This article originally appeared on VICE Canada.
The video that stole my heart begins simply enough, with two men facing off across a white table.
On one side we have a burly man in a blue sweatshirt and across from him a minuscule man in a green jacket and scarf. The two lean over the table as a rather large crowd looks on. The two lock eyes, a man (a ref?) taps both of them on the shoulder and it’s go time. Then they start slapping the shit out of each—politely though, as they patiently wait for the other to finish so it will be their turn.
Eventually, the man in green puts his arms behind his back and awaits the incoming slap. Our burly boy lines up his log-like arms and rewards green jacket boy for his cockiness with one of the hardest smacks in human history.
This… this beautiful art is a result of the Male Slapping Championship which, according to Russian media, was held over the weekend in the Siberian town of Krasnoyarsk. It was a part of the Siberian Power Show—which included bodybuilding, powerlifting, dance offs, and a dumpling eating contest—and took place over the weekend. The face slapping event is apparently a thing over there as last year’s Sarychev Power Expo also held a slapping contest.
The rules are simple, you walk up to a white table, stand across from your opponent, and slap his face, then, if he so chooses to return fire, you take a slap in the face. The two of you repeat this as many times as necessary until one bows out of the beautiful slap dance either on your own volition or by being knocked out. Also, it seems they put chalk on their hands to… better show the slap power, I guess?
The winner won more than just the satisfaction of slapping people silly too! This year the best slapper in Siberia took home a cool 30,000 Russian Ruble—about $470 USD. The man who got to put his stinging hands on that cash? Vasily Pelmen, a pure beauty who clocked in at around 370 pounds of pure slapping prowess—according to one reporter, Pelmen went by the amazing nickname of Dumpling.
(All the gifs come from the above video and I would like to thank whoever put it together from the bottom of my heart.)
While, yes, the contest is admittedly simple, the results, like a perfectly cooked steak or the calming presence of a purring cat, surpass their simplicity and enter the realm of an almost existential level of beauty. Not since perhaps the days of the gladiators have we had a more perfect athletic contest as two Russian men slapping the shit out of each other.
According to the video above, my boy Dumpling made his way easily through his competition like the Russian equivalent of The Mountain. One after another the Siberian men fell to Dumpling’s powerful openhand majesty. This included him dropping the man in the green and taking his shirt off to face down another shirtless slappy man. This slap-off went the distance with Dumpling staggering his opponent several times and eventually being declared the winner. At the end of the slapping, Dumpling knows he won and lightly slaps his opponent as not to do any extra damage because our Dumpling, like any great warrior, knows mercy is a virtue.
There are also a couple non-Dumpling slap-offs in the video but who wants a lesser slap? I mean check out the gif below. It’s a good slap but it doesn’t have that je ne sais quoi that Dumpling (who I’m comfortable in saying is the Muhammad Ali of slapping) possesses.
After walking through the shirtless dude, Dumpling enters what (I think) is the championship round, and faces off against an older man in a white polo shirt. Tension exudes from the video as the two high performance athletes face off. The massive crowd watches with baited breath; they’re going to to see history. Over the white table the athletes glared at each other. This was it, this is the moment they’ve trained their entire slappy careers for. It was do or die time. Please believe me when I tell you, Dumpling came to fucking slap.
While the older man knows how to swing, yes, and is able to get quite a bit of power out of his arms without much wind up he just can’t compete with our boy.
After the opponent somehow survived (read as: caught by his friends as he was falling) Dumpling’s sweet touch, he was lined up at the table for another go. However, this is the real world and not a sports movie, there would be no Cinderella story for our man in the polo shirt.
Dumping made sure as hell about that.
The man, who by this point has recovered remarkably well, slaps Dumpling something fierce but he’s not ready for the slap he’s about to receive by the generational athlete. Needless to say, once Dumpling fires Polo man quickly goes night-night. The ref jumps in and signals an X or something that I suppose says the match is over and the medics come in to save Polo Man. It’s a good call too, as a third slap by Dumpling probably would have excommunicated Polo Man’s soul from his body.
After this the Dumpling either won or the judges decided that they would not be complicit in sending athletes out to be slapped to death by our sweet boy. Our sweet, sweet Dumpling.
Mike Trout, Tom Brady, and LeBron James be damned, Dumpling is 2019’s best athlete.
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