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Wife-pulling—wife-carrying for the next generation?

A new activity may soon dethrone wife-carrying as Finland's strangest couples sport.

Mies vetää naista kelkassa.
An uphill battle. Image: Solja Ryhänen

The world's presumably first wife-pulling contest was staged in Korpilahti, some 250 kilometres north of Helsinki, on Sunday.

Six man-woman teams competed in the winter sport competition, which was dreamt up by organisers just a few weeks ago.

Rules called for the men to pull the women seated on sleighs along a 200-metre hilly course. Teammates did not have to be married, though both parties had to be 17 or older to enter the race.

Ihmisiä kelkan kanssa.
Ninety-degree turns proved hazardous. Image: Solja Ryhänen
Organisers said half of the women tumbled off their sleds, much to the delight of the some one hundred spectators who turned up in the bright winter sunshine.

Heikki and Merja Karila won the contest with a time of 54 seconds. The second place team crossed the finish line in just over a minute.

Finland's wife-carrying championships have been organised in Sonkajärvi since 1992.

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