Wife-Carrying Contest

Wife-Carrying Contest

In Finland, there is an annual wife-carrying championship called Eukonkanto, and the winner receives special prizes.

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Wife-carrying is a contest in which male competitors race while each carrying a female teammate. The objective is for the male to carry the female through a special obstacle track in the fastest time. The sport was first introduced at Sonkajärvi, Finland. Several types of carrying may be practiced: either a classic piggybacks, a fireman's carry (over the shoulder), or Estonian-style (wife upside-down on his back with her legs over the neck and shoulders).

Eukonkanto originated in Finland. Tales have been passed down of a man named Herkko Rosvo-Ronkainen (aka Ronkainen the Robber. This man was considered a robber in the late 1800s, lived in a forest, and ran around with his gang of thieves causing harm to the villages. From what has been found, there are three ideas as to why/how this sport was invented. Firstly, that Rosvo-Ronkainen and his thieves were accused of stealing food and women from villages in the area he lived in, then carrying these women on their backs as they ran away (hence the "wife" or woman carrying).

The second suggestion is that young men would go to neighboring villages, steal other men’s wives to marry themselves. These wives were also carried on the backs of the young men; this was referred to as “the practice of wife stealing". Lastly, is the idea that Rosvo-Ronkainen trained his thieves to be "faster and stronger" by carrying big, heavy sacks on their backs, from which evolved this sport. Though the sport is often considered a joke, competitors take it very seriously, just like any other sport.

Wife carrying contests have taken place in Australia, the United States, Hong Kong, India, Germany, the UK, other parts of the world besides Finland and nearby Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, and the sport has a category in the Guinness Book of Records.

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