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Finnish Sport: Wife Carrying

Fact: Wife Carrying is a sport in Finland

In Finland, male competitors compete in the sport of eukonkanto. In this sport, competitors must carry their female teammate through a series of obstacles with the winner being the team with the fastest time. The wife can be carried in several ways, though it is typically done in the Estonian style, where the wife hangs upside-down on her husband’s back with her arms around his waist and her thighs around his neck. The Wife Carrying World Championships is held in Sonkajärvi, Finland each year. The prize for the winner is determined by the weight of his female teammate and is paid in beer. The winning prize for this championship is the female teammate’s weight in beer.
The practice originated in the eastern Finnish town of Sonkajärvi. While there are several legends about the origin of the sport, most of them center on an alleged robber named Herkko Rosvo-Ronkainen who lived in the forests in the late 1800s. In the most common story, Rosvo-Ronkainen and his gang are accused of stealing people’s wives and food from the surrounding villages. To prevent the women from running away, the thieves carried them on their backs.


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