Finland finally wins its own wife-carrying race

Gomel, BelarusFor the first time in over a decade, a Finnish couple has won the coveted title of the World Wife Carrying Champions. This quirky, but extremely popular, annual competition was created in Finland, but it has been 11 years since the Finns captured the title.
This year’s contest was again held in the eastern Finnish town of Sonkajarvi, the original site of the event, according to the YLE news agency. This was the 14th year the event has been held in Finland since its inception, and 36 couples from 13 different countries made the trip to try and finish fastest. Participants came from as far as the United States, Japan and Australia for the 14th annual World Championships.

The 2009 gold medal was won by Finland’s Taisto Miettinen and Kristiina Haapanen, who edged the Estonian pair of Alar Voogla and Kristi Viltrop by a mere half second. Last year, the Estonian couple took gold, but this year they were pipped by the Finns, and had to settle for silver.

Sikunews says the first Wife Carrying Championships happened in 1992, when local businesses in Sonkajarvi came up with the brilliant idea to promote their far-flung town and lure more summer tourism to the area. Over the past 14 years, the event has gained a huge cult following around the world and regularly attracts 10,000 spectators to the big event.