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Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Stealing beauty

SONKAJARVI: Estonia reigned supreme once again in the wife-carrying world championship, as Margo Uusorg sprinted home to win the Baltic country's eighth straight title in the offbeat competition.

Forty couples from 10 countries gathered in the remote Finnish village of Sonkajarvi to complete a 253.5-metre-long obstacle course. A man must carry a woman, not necessarily his spouse, through a pool and across hurdles.

The few rules require a minimum weight of 49kg for the "wife" and state that all contestants must have fun.

Uusorg, 25, completed the course in 59 seconds with friend Egle Soll, 23, clinging to his back in the trademark "Estonian Carry" – hanging upside down with her legs clenched around his neck.

Uusorg's prizes were his partner's weight in beer and a high-tech mobile phone.

It was his fourth victory, and the third in a row for his family. Brother Madis won in 2004.

We don't have a secret, we just try to run fast and hope the legs work," said Uusorg, who works in Stockholm as an embassy driver. He warned that the family would be even stronger contenders next year when brother number three, Urmet, takes part.

"He holds the Estonian record for the 800 metres," Uusorg said.

Uusorg and Soll received first prize from the hands of visiting U.S. basketball legend Dennis Rodman, who declined to compete, saying he lacked both a wife and proper training.

"I'm not in shape... It could hurt the back," said the former Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons forward. But he promised to train for next year.

"I'll carry the kids around the house or something," he said.

Some 9000 people came to view the event, set deep in forests and lakes a couple of hours' drive from the Arctic Circle. It began in 1992 as a purely Finnish contest based on local legend, according to which wife-stealing was once commonplace in the region.
The men are strong and the women are brave. I’m not sure I’d like to be dangling upside down for that distance with my head firmly planted between my partners butt cheeks. Now if I were dangling the other side that could be interesting.

Still I guess it’s worth it for the beer.

posted by Opus at 17:09

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