The Wife Carrying World Championships in Finland

March 11, 2013 in Crazy and bizarre, Europe and Middle East, Funny


Every year in the small city of Sonkajärvi in Finland, a special competition has taken place since 1992. It is the World Championships in Wife Carrying. Men compete by racing through a special track with obstacles, all while carrying a female on their back.

Wife carrying competition

Competitors may use different kinds of carrying techniques. The piggyback, fireman’s carry or the popular Estonian-style: wife hangs upside-down with her legs around the husband’s shoulders (picured).

The origin of the sport is can not be verified, but three stories all from the same tale could be the explanation. A man named Herkko Rosvo-Ronkainen lived in the woods with his gang in the late 1800s. The first story comes from the gang apparently stealing food and women from villages. They would carry the women on their backs. The second story is somewhat similar, as young members of Rosvo-Ronkainen’s gang would steal wives from villages, carrying them on the back. The third story tells that Herkko asked his gang to be fit for stealing, hence demanding them to train by carrying big sacks on their backs. This would then evolve into a sport at some point. (Via: