Wife Carrying ChampionshipTradition marries sports and fun in the annual Wife-Carrying World Championships celebrated in the town of SonkajÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¤rvi, Finland, between the 2nd and 4th July 2004.Wife-Carrying in SonkajÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¤rvi since 1992
Tired of football, basketball or other boring sports? Well, come to Finland for the ultimate world sports event: The Wife-Carrying World Championship.
In 1992, the people of SonkajÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¤rvi decided that it was time to revive some long-forgotten traditions: back in the late 1800's there was in the area a brigand called Rosvo-Ronkainen, who was said to have accepted in his troops only those men who proved their worth on a challenging track. In those days, it was also a common practice to steal women from the neighbouring villages.
So that's how this small town in central Finland became the focus of attention of world media and sportshusbands and wives. From year to year a large number of competitors, public, and media from Finland to Canada attend the annual Wife-Carrying rendezvous in SonkajÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¤rvi, doubling the population of the town for the weekend.
The Wife-Carrying World Championship is becoming increasingly popular. If he were alive today, old Rosvo-Ronkainen would have faced tough competition from husbands from as far away as Estonia, Norway, Ireland, or the United States of America. And being fit would just not be enough for Rosvo's troops taking into consideration that qualifying Wife-Carrying competitions are already being held in Estonia, Sweden, Denmark, the USA, and South Korea...Estonian Wife-Carrying dominance
The Wife-Carrying event is charged with competitive spirit and is renowned for its warm and humorous atmosphere. The championships have traditionally been dominated by Estonian teams and that doesn't please the local Finns, who have been wife-carrying for centuries. It is precisely Margo Uusorg and Egle Soll from Estonia who hold the Wife-Carrying World Record with a time of only 1 minute 0.7 seconds.
The Wife Carrying World Championship is competed over a 253.5 meters-long official track. The surface of the track is partially sand, partially grass and partially asphalt. The track has two dry obstacles and a water obstacle, about one meter deep.
There are a few basic rules to observe in the Championship, the two most important being that all the participants must have fun and that the winner is the couple who completes the course in the shortest time.
The wife to be carried may be your own, the neighbour's or you may have found her further afield. The minimum weight of the wife to be carried is 49 kilos. If it is less than 49 kilos, the wife will be burdened with such a heavy rucksack that the total weight to be carried is 49 kilos. If a contestant drops his wife, that couple will be fined 15 seconds per drop. The contestants run the race two at a time, so each heat is a contest in itself.Wife-Carrying Team Competition and entertainment
Along with the Wife-Carrying World Championships there is also a Team Competition. The track is the same but three men in the team carry the wife in turns. At the exchange point the carrier has to drink the official "wife carrying drink" before continuing the race. A special prize is awarded to the team with best costumes.
On Friday night there will be a Wife Carrying Triathlon, in which the couples compete in side step, riding a bike with the wife sitting in front of the man, and wife-carrying while running through the 253,5 m long track in the new wife-carrying arena. The track has the traditional dry obstacles and water pool, too.
Finnish top artists and local musicians have their own share in making the public enjoy the Wife-Carrying World Championships in SonkajÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¤rvi. Alongside the wife-carrying sporting competitions, there will be bands playing music in the arena, antique traders' market place, wife-carrying karaoke, and wife-carrying dance among other amenities.http://www.scandinavica.com/culture/sports/wife.htm