Wife-Carrying Champion Wins 2 Years In A Row

Mack DreyfussContributor IJanuary 15, 2011

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 20:  Dennis Rodman attends the Battle of the Codes poker game held at Star City March 20, 2008 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)
Matt King/Getty Images

His name is Taisto Miettinen. He holds the title for wife-carrying world champion in not only 2009, but 2010. Kristiina Haapanen was his partner. Miettinen described her as a “friend,” which leads one to question whether Haapanen qualifies as a legitimate “wife” in the wife-carrying contest.

Miettinen won Haapanen’s weight, which will remain a mystery in this article, in beer by carrying her 273 yards through the Finnish town of Sonkajaervi. He jumped two hurdles and waded through a pool in one minute and four seconds.

The old ball and chain was no match for Miettinen’s endurance. He carries wives in the “Estonia style” which consists of dangling her “upside down over his back.”

Wife-carrying has been an organized competition for 15 years. In 2010, 51 teams participated in the carrying. Four thousand showed up to watch the competition, and competitors from 13 countries showed up to carry their wives.

Miettinen is not merely a wife carrier. He is a 45-year-old lawyer and wrote a book about “tax minimization.”

Dennis Rodman was going to compete in 2005, but he couldn’t due to health problems.

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It is required for all participants to “have fun.” The carried wife has to wear a helmet. The wife can be “yours, the neighbors’ or found her further afield.”

I don’t know what that means. In the name of decency the wife has to be 17 years old. Estonia-style carries do not seem like they would qualify as fun for the wife element in the equation, but Haapanen must enjoy this technique because they won.

Wife-carrying isn’t limited to Finland. Monona and Minocqua, Wis. have competitions. So does Marquette, Mich. and Newry, Maine.

The contest was inspired by a legendary wife-carrier named Herkko Rosvo-Ronkainen. Supposedly, he lived in a forest and took food and women from local villages, carrying them on his back. Now modern people enjoy doing this over hurdles and through wading pools to win beer.

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