During the week Taisto Miettinen is your average Joe—a small-town businessman and father of two—but on the weekends he’s one wife-lugging badass motherfucker. Taisto is the winner of this year’s annual Wife Carrying World Championship, which is held in Sonkajärvi, Finland. The competition is simple: be the fastest dude to get your wife through the obstacle course without dropping her. The grand prize? Her weight in beer. How’s that for inspiration? We met up with Taisto, the first Scandinavian to win the championship in 12 years.
Vice: Congratulations on being the fastest wife carrier in the world. How much does your wife weigh, anyway?
Taisto: 48.3 kilos.
That’s it? You know the heavier the chick, the more beer you win, right?
It was still the hardest thing that I’ve ever done in one minute. Every man can carry his wife 100 meters, but it gets very tough after that.
I practiced with the wife. We started training in Helsinki three months before the competition. I ran a lot and spent a lot of time at the gym.
So when did you first get into carrying around your wife?
I started competing in 1997, but not with the same wife that I won with this year.
Yeah, my competing partner is not actually my wife; she’s just a friend. The official rules say it can be a “so-called” wife. The competition’s title isn’t really correct when translated to English.
Damn. Well, you still carried some chick over 250 meters worth of obstacles in a minute, regardless. Is there a special technique involved?
Yeah, I try to make her not jump around on my shoulders too much. It’s much heavier if she moves around.
We heard that the race is sort of homage to the tradition of soldiers racing each other while carrying farm animals. Do you ever carry sheep or pigs around?
No, I never have. I don’t have any.
OK, well you won 50 kilos of beer. That’s rad. Have you finished that stash off yet?
No, not yet. I’ve only drunk a few bottles.
No after-the-race blackout celebration? Your “wife” must be stoked on you since claiming such a prestigious title, right?
Yeah. I think she’s happy that we won. She now knows that I am so good that I can win. And I’m happy that I can prove that to her by winning. She respects me now that I am so good.
No, I think we’ll remain just friends. She's 19 years younger than me—she’s only 25.
So what next, champ?
I have a lot of upcoming challenges. I’m going to compete in this year’s World Sauna Championship, which is where you try to sit in a 110-degree Celsius sauna longer than anyone else. I’m also going to compete in Fear Factor this year.
Damn. You're a masochist.