World Wife-Carrying Championship In Finland

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The idea of wife-carrying as a sport was inspired by the 19th-century legend of Ronkainen the Robber, who tested aspiring members of his gang by forcing them to carry sacks of grain or live pigs over a similar course.

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The championship is also said to stem from an even earlier practice of wife-stealing – leading many present-day contestants to compete with someone else’s wife.

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Men slung their wives or partners over their shoulders and hurtled off on an hour-long race in the small Finnish town of Sonkajarvi as thousands of fans cheered from the stands.

The World Wife-Carrying Championship, now in its 23rd year, draws thousands of visitors to the town of 4,200 and has gained followers across the world.

There are official qualifying competitions in countries including the United States, United Kingdom, Sweden, and Estonia. On Saturday, 53 couples from 13 countries joined the competition, organizers said.

Finland, which straddles the Arctic Circle and goes through long, dark winters(only has three months of light), is no stranger to strange sports. It has also given the world the world boot throwing, air guitar, and mobile phone throwing competitions, to name just a few.

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