‘She ain’t heavy’: Lithuanian couple wins world wife-carrying title

‘She ain’t heavy’: Lithuanian couple wins world wife-carrying title
Vytautas Kirkliauskas carries his wife Neringa Kirkliauskiene on the way to the couple's World Wife Carrying Championship in Sonkajarvi, Finland on July 7, 2018.

A Lithuanian couple bested more than 50 other teams Saturday to win the 2018 World Wife-Carrying Championship, Reuters reported.

Thousands cheered on Vytautas Kirkliauskas and Neringa Kirkliauskiene as they won the hour-long competition which involved running, wading through a slippery pool and navigating an obstacle course.

The competition, now in its 23rd year, draws thousands of people each year to the small village of Sonkajarvi, Finland, which has a population of 4,200.

On Saturday, 53 couples from 13 countries competed, according to organizers. The event has official qualifying competitions in several countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Sweden and Estonia.

Reuters reported the idea of wife-carrying as a sport originated in the 19th-century legend of Ronkainen the Robber, who tested aspiring members of his gang by forcing them to carry sacks of grain or live pigs over a similar course.

The championship is also said to hail from an even earlier practice of wife-stealing, which inspires many present-day contestants to compete with someone else’s wife, according to Reuters.

Kirklauskas and Kirkliauskiene first competed in 2005. They defeated six-time world champion Taisto Miettinen of Finland.

“It’s my wife,” Kirklauskas said after the race. “She’s the best.”