Wife Carrying


Yes, you heard correctly – Wife Carrying is a sport. It is a race where a man carries his wife along an obstacle course, where the fastest couple is deemed the winner. Whilst this may initially sound incredibly sexist, impractical and in some cases downright inappropriate, you have come to the understanding that yes, it is all of those things. Despite the fact that this sport is taken in a very lighthearted manner, major competitors of the sport take Wife Carrying very seriously.

The Origins of Wife Carrying

There are a number of theories as to how this sport came about. Originating in Finland under its traditional name of ‘Eukonkanto’, the sport seems to have its origins in a man named Herkko Rosvo-Ronkainen. He was a thief and pillager in the late 19th century, flooding chaos in towns and villages. The stories say that he and his gang used to steal food, goods and even women, carrying them on their backs. Another story, which is far less worrying, is the idea that Rosvo-Ronkainen used to train his men by getting them to carry large, heavy sacks on their backs which eventually evolved into a sport testing muscle endurance and strength. Though the question must be asked – when did women replace these sacks?

The Rules

There are a number of rules in the Sport of Wife Carrying. The track on which the race is undertaken usually involves some rocky terrain, fences to leap over and a water based section. Here are a few of the rules that have been set by the International Wife Carrying Competition Rules Committee.

  • The Track is 253.5 meters in length.
  • The wife must be your own, the neighbors, or one you found further afield.
  • She must be at least seventeen years of age.
  • Contestants run two at a time.
  • The fastest couple is named the winner.
  • The most entertaining, the best costume and strongest carrier also win prizes.

It’s an interesting sport that has crosses many a field, with the sport now practiced in the USA, Hong Kong, Estonia and right here in Australia. The World Championships are held every year.


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