Jesse “JerAx” Vainikka and Topias “Topson” Taavitsainen are being recognized by the Finnish government for their stunning victory at The International 2018.
The OG support and mid players have both received invitations to the Independence Day Reception in Helsinki. The sender was none other than the president of Finland.
“I got invited to celebrate the Finnish Independence Day at Linnan Juhlat by the President of Finland!” JerAx said.
It’s an interesting way to acknowledge the duo, but also a strong demonstration of how far esports has come as an industry.
The Independence Day Reception is an annual tradition in Finland. Originally a gala that brought together political, religious, and business leaders in the country, it has grown in scope over the decades to include writers, actors, athletes, and other celebrities. Potentially hosting an upwards of 2,000 attendees each year, it allows notable Finns from various fields to come together in one location to celebrate the nation’s milestone.
Though Finland has produced a number of notable esports stars over the years, including StarCraft 2’s Joona “Serral” Sotala and fellow Dota 2 player Lasse Aukusti “MATUMBAMAN” Urpalainen, JerAx and Topson are the first competitive gamers to receive this honor.
It’s a great way to cap a year that saw JerAx help turn a struggling OG around and Topson go from pub player to one of esports’ breakout stars.