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IronMind News Archives: Viewing Archives for July 2009

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by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

His opening day performance at the 105-kg Strongman World Record Breakers competition including doing just that - breaking a world rcord - and Sergei Koniushok is the leader after the first day of competition.

Sergei Koniushok leads the 105-kg Strongman World Record Breakers meet. IronMind® | Jyrki Rantanen photo.
Sergei Koniushok leads the 105-kg Strongman World Record Breakers meet. IronMind® | Jyrki Rantanen photo.


Things opened with the medley, which Hartikainen won, with Maris Rozenthals second and Sergei Konisok third.

Next up was the log lift for maximum weight: Koniushok won with 155 kg, followed by Rozenthal at 150.

Koniushok proved the contest name was for real as he broke the world record in the farmer’s walk, 120 kg/70 meters in 30.82 seconds.

The last event of the day was a truck pull, which produced close competition.  Unofficially, these are the top places and points after the first day:

Sergei Konishok 71 points
Janne Hartikainen 66.5
Marius Lalas 57
Maris Rozenthals 56

“Sergei looks strong, but Hartikainen is always dangerous,” Jyrki Rantanen told IronMind®.

Watch for more live coverage on Twitter tomorrow, as well as in this news column.


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

Referring to the Giants Live - World's Strongest Man qualifier, Vlad Redkin told IronMind®, "Raivis Vidzis will not compete; Rolands Gulbis will."


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

The curtain has been lifted and now it’s official: the 2009 World’s Strongest Man contest will be held in Malta.

Qualifiers are September 26 - 29 and the finals are October 1 - 3.


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

“This is the final Giants Live strongman competition of the season and the last chance to secure a place at the World’s [World’s Strongest Man contest],” Giants Live founder Colin Bryce told IronMind® today.

Here’s the official lineup:

Jarek Dymek
Stefan Solvi Petursson
Mark Felix
Darren Sadler
Laurence Shahlaei
Rob Frampton
Kevin Nee
Raivis Vidzis
Tarmo Mitt

“Two young new Poles will also be part of the lineup," Bryce said.  "This should be a good contest - with the top three going to the World’s.”

Events:

Tire flip
Farmer's walk
Deadlift
Viking press
Medley
Stones

The competition will be held at Malbork Castle in northern Poland, a 13th-century gem that “is the world’s largest medieval castle,” said Bryce.  Svend “Viking” Karlsen has flown in from Norway to help Bryce present the TV commentary.

A source close to the process told IronMind® that “the World’s Strongest Man wild card selection will follow the contest.  As ever, a senior panel of strongman experts will liaise with top IMG officials to help decide the lineup.” 

And the stakes are higher than ever, as IronMind® heard, “This year’s World’s is expected to be the strongest lineup of strength athletes in history.”

Stay tuned for results.
 


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

With able help from triple threat strongman-driver-reporter Jyrki Rantanen, IronMind® is covering the 105-kg Strongman World Record-Breakers with real time updates on our Twitter account.

“Imagine how hard it is to be a referee, but to be a speaker at the same time?  Can a former strongman do it?  Ilkka Kinnnuen, can,” says Jyrki Rantanen.  IronMind® | Photo courtesy of Jyrki Rantanen.
“Imagine how hard it is to be a referee, but to be a speaker at the same time?  Can a former strongman do it?  Ilkka Kinnnuen, can,” says Jyrki Rantanen.  IronMind® | Photo courtesy of Jyrki Rantanen.

 
For the next best thing to being there in person, follow IronMind on Twitter.


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

He’s the only person ever to win the World’s Strongest Man contest five times and now he’s tentatively set to enter the MMA world.

Is Mariusz Pudzianowski looking for new worlds to conquer?  Is MMA next for the five-time World’s Strongest Man winner?  IronMind® | Randall J. Strossen photo.
Is Mariusz Pudzianowski looking for new worlds to conquer?  Is MMA next for the five-time World’s Strongest Man winner?  IronMind® | Randall J. Strossen photo.


A source close to Mariusz Pudzianowski told IronMind® that the man who is the biggest draw in strongman is booked for a MMA fight in Poland on December 12, “probably.”  IronMind® will continue to follow this story, so watch here for updates.
 


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

Congratulations to 19-year old Jonathan Vogt, who has just certified on the No. 3 Captains of Crush® Gripper, a global standard marking outstanding grip strength.

Jonathan Vogt certifes on the No. 3 Captains of Crush® Gripper and since he is 19 years old, IronMind® is contributing US$500 to the educational trust fund set up for Jesse Marunde’s children.  IronMind® | Photo courtesy of Jonathan Vogt.
Jonathan Vogt certifes on the No. 3 Captains of Crush® Gripper and since he is 19 years old, IronMind® is contributing US$500 to the educational trust fund set up for Jesse Marunde’s children.  IronMind® | Photo courtesy of Jonathan Vogt.


The Columbus, Indiana native runs his own lawn and landscape business, “mostly mowing with a gear drive walk behind Scag mower.  It is driven from the gearbox to belts which are tensioned or held onto with two springs that my hands have to pull up to turn.”  When it comes to his world-class grip strength, Jonathan says, “I give this a lot of credit.”  Jonathan said that he is starting to compete in armwrestling now, where his powerful grip will be a huge asset.

In memory of Jesse Marunde, “the first teenage Captains of Crush,” IronMind® pledged to contribute US$500.00 to the educational trust fund for his children each time a teenager matched this tremendous feat of strength, and since Jonathan is 19, his great grip strength is helping Jesse Marunde’s children, for which we thank him.

Congratulations, Jonathan - you proved you have world-class grip strength and you are now certified on the No. 3 Captains of Crush® Gripper, and if that’s not enough, you’ve also helped out Jesse Marunde’s children.  Way to go!


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

Wout Zijlstra and Jan Wagenaar set a two-man truck pull world record last weekend, Real Dutch Power chairman Jan Haaring told IronMind®.

Wout Zijlstra and Jan Wagenaar supply the horsepower in this two-man truck pull.  IronMind® | Photo courtesy of Hans Zwamborn.
Wout Zijlstra and Jan Wagenaar supply the horsepower in this two-man truck pull.  IronMind® | Photo courtesy of Hans Zwamborn.


Here is the report.

World Record Truck Pull by Wout Zijlstra and Jan Wagenaar

By Jan Haaring

Highland Games legend and former Dutch Strongest Man and former World'sStrongest Man finalist Wout Zijlstra (45 years old and 145 kg) has set a new world record 2-man truck pull last Saturday on the Dutch TT (motor) circuit at Assen during the 25th anniversary of the National Truck Star festival.

Before a crowd of 12,000 spectators Wout Zijlstra pulled a truck, using a harness and rope, together with “rookie” Jan Wagenaar (3rd at the Dutch Strongest Man competition 2009).  The two strong men pulled a 100,000 kg combination over a distance of 12 meters.  The target was 10 meters and they did 12! 

Wout has planned to attempt this new world record with his colleague and strongman friend Jarno Hams, but as we know, Jarno tore his muscle from his leg during the Strongman Champions League in Holland earlier this year.  But rookie Jan "The Red Hulk" Wagenaar (32 years old and 135 kg) did the job for him!


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

Sakari Selkäinaho, of SS Power, is holding the 1st Finnish Open Grip Strength Championships in Lahti on October 3, at The Fitness EXPO, “Scandinavia’s biggest strength and fitness event,” he told IronMind®.

The Incredible Hulk has nothing on Finnish gripster Juha Harju.  IronMind® | Photo courtesy of Juha Harju.
The Incredible Hulk has nothing on Finnish gripster Juha Harju.  IronMind® | Photo courtesy of Juha Harju. 


“The competition has four events, the first two are qualifiers.  The promoter has picked up the most popular events with a lot of variety.  They test static, dynamic and most of all maximal grip strength on single and two-arm events,” explained the official press release. 

The events are the IronMind® Rolling Thunder®, the europinch, Captains of Crush® Grippers and the Apollon’s Axle deadlift.  “After the first two events, eight best go to finals.”

The winner gets an invitation to the Arnold Classic, and a “a one-year sponsorship from a fast-rising supplement company, ActivLab.  The top 3 get prize money and beautiful swords plus a team spot on our national or international team including a bronze level sponsorship.  We also host a challenge for women, any female competitor with significant grip strength can contact us,” Sakari said:

SS Power OY
Sakari Selkäinaho
Mannilantie 27
43100 SAARIJÄRVI
FINLAND
+011-505-354-106
sakke@voimaharjoitelu.fi
info@sportkraft.net


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

Sebastian Wenta won the Callander Highlander Challenge last weekend and Colin Bryce called the action for IronMind®.

Here’s the lineup for 2009 Callendar Highlander Challenge.  IronMind® | Photo courtesy of Gregor Edmunds.
Here’s the lineup for 2009 Callendar Highlander Challenge.  IronMind® | Photo courtesy of Gregor Edmunds.

 

2009 Callander Highlander Challenge

Reported by Colin Bryce



Entering its 25th year, the two-day event at Callander, Scotland is regarded as one of the most prestigious Highland Games on the circuit.  Callander, known as the Gateway to the Highlands, sported stunning blue skies on day one and that was enough to secure a six thousand strong crowd.  The people of the Trossachs are used to amazing athletes competing in both strongman and Highland Games, and since the introduction of the Highlander Challenge, Dr. Douglas Edmunds made the 2009 Callander Highlander Challenge perhaps the most star-studded lineup yet, including the seemingly unbeatable Pole Sebastian Wenta, who is now the three-time Highlander Challenge world champion.  With the addition of 3 Olympians, Edmunds produced a mouth-watering display of talent. 


The first day kicked off with the light stone put, and with 5 of the 10 men being 60’ shot putters, it was a real battle.  Emeka Udechuku, British Olympic discus thrower, adapted to the grass surface with relative ease, although another battle was apparent between the English Highland Games champion Scott Rider and the Wenta brothers.

All three men peppered the 58’ mark, but it was Sebastian who took the win with a put just shy of 59’.

In the 28-lb. weight for distance, the fans had a multitude of 80’ throwers fighting it out. The current Scottish Highland Games champion Gregor Edmunds started to show a bit of form. Just three months ago he had had surgery on his elbow, but here he started to find his rhythm. Sadly some monster warm-up throws didn’t appear in the competition itself; instead it was the Braemar champion Scott Rider who won with a throw just short of 84’.



Another highlight on day one was big Mike Zolkiewicz in the 20-lb. sheaf toss, taking the all-comers Scottish record to a staggering 33’.  With Stefan Solvi Pettursson and Udechuku hot on his heels, he pulled out a tremendous throw to be the only man clear at 32’.  The crowd could hardly believe their eyes when he went for the full height of the stands and nailed the 33’ throw. 



Day one ended with the pole push, and it was the two heavyweights, Kyrylo Chuprynin and Sebastian Wenta, who really got the crowd going. The Ukrainian Olympic discus thrower took advantage of Wenta’s fatigue from previous rounds, getting under the 360-lb. pole and driving him out of the circle after a good minute of deadlock. 
In day two, the world-class throwing continued with the recent world record-holder on the 56-lb. weight for height, Zolkiewicz, doing 17’ 9” on a fairly dour weight.  His attempts at 18’ all came down on the bar and sadly on the wrong side.  Callander, of course, has an amazing legacy of 56-lb. weight throws, with the likes of Mikhail Koklyaev, Wout Zjilstra, and Vasil Virastyuk throwing over 18’.  The combination of traditional heavy events and ancient strength contests was hailed as a triumph by the fans and athletes present.

In day two, the world-class throwing continued with the recent world record-holder on the 56-lb. weight for height, Zolkiewicz, doing 17’ 9” on a fairly dour weight.  His attempts at 18’ all came down on the bar and sadly on the wrong side.  Callander, of course, has an amazing legacy of 56-lb. weight throws, with the likes of Mikhail Koklyaev, Wout Zjilstra, and Vasil Virastyuk throwing over 18’.

The combination of traditional heavy events and ancient strength contests was hailed as a triumph by the fans and athletes present.
 


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

Slovenian strongman Stegnar Gregor won the grand prix held in his country, reported Vlad Redkin.

Strongman Stegnar Gregor won the Slovenian Grand Prix.  IronMind® | Photo courtesy of Vlad Redkin.
Strongman Stegnar Gregor won the Slovenian Grand Prix.  IronMind® | Photo courtesy of Vlad Redkin.


Here are the final results:

1. Stegnar Gregor - SLO, 63 points
2. Gulbis Rolands - LAT, 49 points
3. Marinkovič Radojica - SRB, 48 points
4. Kriechbaum Wolfgang - AUT, 46 points
5. Ušlakar Andrej - SLO, 37 points
6. Baboumian Patrick - GER, 34 points
7. Zaloudek Jiri - CZE, 30 points
8. Pogačnik Primož - SLO, 28 points
9. Ivančič Sandi - SLO, 21 points
10. Slapnik Damjan - SLO, 21 points
11. Mitrovič Igor - SRB, 11 points


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

Proving once again that grip strength isn’t just for guys, Elizabeth Horne pinch gripped two 20-kg discs, proud husband and grip guy David Horne reported to IronMind®.

Elizabeth Horne pinch grips a pair of 20-kg plates.  IronMind® | Photo courtesy of David Horne.
Elizabeth Horne pinch grips a pair of 20-kg plates.  IronMind® | Photo courtesy of David Horne.


“Elizabeth's skin had healed from her last pinch attempt on the 2 x 20-kg discs, and so after armwrestling training she had a go for photos and videos,” David Horne said.  Regarding this particular lift, David Horne said, “I got three pics from this lift as she did a four second hold at the top.  [After this, Elizabeth] “had the cheek to go for a three-finger and thumb pinch, and lifted it an inch or so.”

Wait for a video on YouTube.
 


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

It was close fought, but Aaron Neighbour prevailed and he is the 2009 Highland Games World Champion.

Sporting the champion’s sash, shield and sword, Aaron Neighbour is the proud 2009 Highland Games World Champion.  IronMind® | Photo courtesy of Lynn Richardson.
Sporting the champion’s sash, shield and sword, Aaron Neighbour is the proud 2009 Highland Games World Champion.  IronMind® | Photo courtesy of Lynn Richardson.


2009 IHGF World Highland Games Championships – Day Two

Reported by Francis Brebner

The second day of the IHGF World Championships started off with some drizzling showers in the early morning before the Games and during the opening event of the day, the 16-lb. open stone.  Aaron Neighbour’s huge put of 54’ 2” took the win.  In second was Pat Hellier of New Zealand, close behind with a worthy put of 53’ 8”, and in third Sean Betz at 51’ 11-1/2”. 
 


Going into the 56-lb. weight for distance, the weather started to clear up and with that, the Games arena filled up again with thousands of spectators.  Larry Brock led the field all the way with the winning throw of 44’ 4-1/2”.  Harrison Bailey pulled out a clutch throw of 43’ 6” for second place, leaving Neighbour in third at 41’ 11-1/2”.
 


With only two events left, the points were very tight, with Neighbour in first position on 14 points, Brock in second on 17 and Betz in third on 21, making the 16-lb. hammer a very exciting event.  Betz really dug deep and pulled out the winning throw of 137’ 4-1/2” with Scotland’s Craig Sinclair coming second with 135’ 1/2” and Brock taking third with 131’ 1- 3/4”.
 


After the points were tallied, Brock and Neighbour were tied on 20 points and Betz sat on 23.
 The last scoring event, the 56-lb. weight over the bar, sorted out the final places.  Neighbour finally cleared the height of 15’ 9” for the win and the crown as the new IHGF World Highland Games champion.  Tied for second place in the weight over bar were Betz and Hans Lolkema, who fought tooth and nail all the way, finally clearing the height of 15’.
 

The last event was the challenge caber, which was 22’ long and 150-lb.  It was New Zealand champion Pat Hellier who nailed a toss of 11:45 for the win, with Lolkema in second place with 11:15 and Canada’s Greg Hadley in third with 11:00.
 All the athletes agreed that this was the best Games ever staged, a true sensation that captured the heart and spirit of all things traditional.
 


Final standings


1. Aaron Neighbour 21


2. Sean Betz 24    

3. Larry Brock    27-1/2

4. Harrison Bailey 38-1/2

5. Greg Hadley     39-1/2

6. Hans Lolkema 45

7. Pat Hellier 45-1/2

8. Craig Sinclair 50-1/2

 


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

Garrick Daft wasn’t kidding when he called it a “very difficult pull,” as only three competitors finished the Budweiser Truck Pull - kicking off Day 2 at the America’s Strongest Man contest.

Left to right: Travis Ortmayer, Derek Poundstone, Andy Vincent.  IronMind® | Courtesy of Dione Wessels.
Left to right: Travis Ortmayer, Derek Poundstone, Andy Vincent.  IronMind® | Courtesy of Dione Wessels.
 

Travis Ortmayer held on to the momentum he had established when he won the final event in day 1 - the stones for height - as he won this opening event on day 2.  Andy Vincent was second, Derek Poundstone was third and “nobody else finished the course.”

Next up was the GMC Canyon truck deadlift, which Derek Poundstone won with 18 reps; Travis Ortmayer and Van Hatfield tied for second with 14 reps.  Andy Vincent, who had gotten zero reps on the deadlift bounced back on the axle clean and press (330 lb.), winning the event with 10 reps.  Poundstone was second, with 9 reps, and Ortmayer was third, with 8 reps.

The last event was the atlas stones and the Texas stoneman - Travis Ortmayer - showed his prowess on the stones again, notching another win.  Vincent was second and Poundstone was third.

Final results:

Derek Poundstone - 127 points
Travis Ortmayer - 117
Andy Vincent  - 99.5
Van Hatfield - 96
Marshall White - 87.5

Wondering about Andy Vincent?  “Andy Vincent is a former NFL player,” Garrick Daft reported to IronMind®.  “Played for the Miami Dolphins in 2001 and the Detroit Lions in 2000.  He is in the process of moving from Louisiana to Houston, Texas.  Once in Houston,  he will join forces with Travis Ortmayer to take their strongman training to the next level.”

Garrick also commented on Marshall White’s strong performance: “He credits his recent move to Colorado and the high altitude training for helping his performance.”

ASC president Dione Wessels told IronMind®, “This was definitely the best America's Strongest Man® yet.  There were over 10,000 fans in the audience. The fans were engaged.  The contest was a true test of overall strength, will, and determination.  Derek competed like a technical machine!  Travis had a difficult start on day one, but it was the real Travis Ortmayer on day two.  If he can put together two good days, like his day two, he will be unstoppable.  Andy Vincent was impressive on his first pro show.  Making the podium in this field is extremely impressive!”


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

Setting a hot pace, Derek Poundstone ripped through the first day of the America’s Strongest Man® contest, winning the first three events.

Sweeping the first three events on the opening day of the 2009 America’s Strongest Man® contest, Derek Poundstone pushed well ahead of the rest of the field and his performance included hitting his first 400-lb. log press in competition.  IronMind® | Photo courtesy of Dione Wessels. 
Sweeping the first three events on the opening day of the 2009 America’s Strongest Man® contest, Derek Poundstone pushed well ahead of the rest of the field and his performance included hitting his first 400-lb. log press in competition.  IronMind® | Photo courtesy of Dione Wessels.


Poundstone opened the competition by smoking the field on the tire flip, which he followed with another win in the max log, where strongman videographer Garrick Daft reported that Derek Poundstone hit “his first 400 in competition!”  Add a win in the farmer’s - keg medley and it was a perfect start after three events for Poundstone.

After three events, here are the top five, overall:

1.  Derek Poundstone - 51 points
2.  Marshall White - 40
3.  Van Hatfield - 37
4.  Travis Ortmayer - 35.5
5.  Andy Vincent - 34.5

The America’s Strongest Man® contest continues on Sunday.


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

Edinburgh, Scotland - Proving them fit for royalty, the Highland Games World Championships today were graced by the presence of Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Rothesay (aka Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla).

Prince Charles greeted the competitors in the Highland Games World Championships today - that’s Pat Hellier to the left of His Royal Highness and Harrison Bailey III on the right.  IronMind® | Randall J. Strossen photo.
Prince Charles greeted the competitors in the Highland Games World Championships today - that’s Pat Hellier to the left of His Royal Highness and Harrison Bailey III on the right.  IronMind® | Randall J. Strossen photo.


A short walk from the center of Edinburgh (Scotland), Holyrood Park offers sweeping fields bordered by untouched crags replete with ruins - a pastoral Scottish setting - and to add the perfect touch, much of today was bathed in sunshine.

Sean Betz won the Braemar Stone, with Aaron Neighbour coming in second and Pat Hellier picking up third place.  Next, Neighbour won the 28-lb. weight for distance, edging out Larry Brock.  Brock maintained the pattern of the runner-up winning the next event by taking first in the caber, but Neighbour was three points ahead of him in the overall at this stage, with Sean Betz in third place, three points behind Brock.

Betz won the 22-lb. hammer, Brock was second, and Craig Sinclair third, and the first day of the 2009 Highland Games World Championships ended with things tight at the top:

Aaron Neighbour 10 points
Larry Brock 11
Sean Betz 13

The action resumes tomorrow.


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

“On Saturday, July 25, the French Strongman Nationals will be done in Avoriaz, France,” Marcel Mostert reported to IronMind®.

The French Strongman National Championships are this weekend.  IronMind® | Artwork courtesy of Marcel Mostert.
The French Strongman National Championships are this weekend.  IronMind® | Artwork courtesy of Marcel Mostert.


“Ten athletes will start, fighting for the French title under the auspices of the French organisation FFHF and Strongman Champions League!  On Sunday there will be the top 5 of France competing agianst the 5 international athletes: Louis-Philippe Jean from Canada, Igor Werner from Germany, Agris Kazelniks from Latviia and Richard vd Linden from Holland will be there to make an advertisement for our sport.”

Marcel Mostert and French Fabrice Barbier will referee.
 
Also, Mostert reported, "tonight we all can see  the Strongman Champions League - Holland (from June 16), on Eurosport at 23.00 hours (11 p.m.).”

 


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

Thanks to some good work by all involved, IronMind® has more details on the 105-kg strongman record for the stones.

Ilkka Kinnunen told IronMind®, “First, I want to thank Jyrki [Rantanen] for noticing this . . . he is correct on that.  Jyrki is still holding the record with Atlas Stones, with a time 31.06 seconds.  Janne Hartikainen is the record holder with time I gave you, Randy, with the Chinese Stones,” referring to the time listed in the story about the upcoming 105-kg record breakers’s contest.
 


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

With the Highland Games World Championships set this weekend, Edinburgh, Scotland is buzzing with excitement.

David Webster, OBE, the world’s leading expert on the history of the Highland Games.  IronMind® | Francis Brebner photo.
David Webster, OBE, the world’s leading expert on the history of the Highland Games.  IronMind® | Francis Brebner photo.


Francis Brebner filed this report with IronMind®, setting the stage for the 2009 Highland Games World Championships.

The IHGF World Team Championships just this weekend past in Nova Scotia, Canada was a major success and witnessed Sean Betz and Larry Brock breaking ground records in the 22-lb. Braemar put and 28-lb. weight for distance.  Greg Hadley also established a new Canadian championship record in the 56-lb. weight for distance, and the highlight of the championships was Mike Zolkiewicz smashing the world record in the traditional 56-lb. weight over the bar - something to see.
 And now with the world’s leading traditional athletes all fired up again for this year’s IHGF World Championships in Edinburgh, Scotland, I would not be surprised to see some World Championships records broken, that is for sure.
 David Webster, OBE and Lord Jamie Sempell have set the stage for what is being called “the greatest Highland Games ever staged,” with people making the pilgrimage from all over the world just to be part of this one-off  historical celebration in honour of all things traditional.


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

GP Slovenia will be in Postojna, Slovenia will be hosting a strongman grand prix on 25 of July.

Postojna, Slovenia will be the location for this weekend’s Slovenia GP strongman contest.  IronMind® | Artwork courtesy of Vlad Redkin.
Postojna, Slovenia will be the location for this weekend’s Slovenia GP strongman contest.  IronMind® | Artwork courtesy of Vlad Redkin.


Here is the start list:

1.    Wolfgang Kriechbaum - Austria
2.    Rolands Gulbis - Latvia
3.    Radojica Marinkovič - Serbia
4.    Jiri Žaloudek - Czech Republic
5.    Andrej Ušlakar - Slovenia
6.    Sandi Ivančič - Slovenia
7.    Damijan Slapnik -Slovenia
8.    Primož Pogačnik - Slovenia
9.    Gregor Stegnar - Slovenia

. . . and the events:

1. Truck pull: 18 tons, 20 meters
2. Super yoke: 370 kg, 20 meter + Farmer’s walk: 2 x150 kg
3. Dumbbell: 65 kg + log lift: 120 kg + log lift: 140 kg
4. Duck walk: 200 kg, 10 meters + tire flip: 490 kg x 6 flips
5. Atlas stones: 120 - 180 kg
6. Conan's wheel:  380 kg
 


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

It’s a busy weekend coming up in Scotland - besides the Highland Games World Championships in Edinburgh, the Highlander Games in Callendar will be putting on a big show.

Here’s the talent-laden lineup for Callendar:

Gregor Edmunds
Sebastian Wenta
Scott Rider
Kyrylo Chuprynin
Mike Zolkiewicz
Stefan Solvi Petursson
Lukasz Wenta
Pieter Karst Bouma
Oskars Brugemanis
Emeka Udechuku

Saying that “it’s unfortunate that it’s on the same date [as the Highland Games World Championships] . . . it’s just daft,” Douglas Edmunds was quick to point out that this underscores the need to unify the sport.  “Things are too small to be fragmented,” he said.  “The sport needs to be reorganized . . . The sport needs a kick up the backside.”

Edmunds told IronMind® that he is retired from strongman, leaving that to the younger guys, but he’s fired up to help Highland Games grow and get the recognition he feels they deserve, and as for any rivalry with the Highland Games World Championships, Edmunds dismisses the idea.

“Anything that brings money in the sport is good, and they are getting a tremendous amount of publicity.  Besides, Edmunds added, "The boys are all friends . . . and I'm a good guy."


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

Head to Redding this weekend if you want to jump in and pull or just want to watch the Nor Cal State Armwrestling Championships on July 25. 

Men’s open and novice, plus classes for women and kids - the Nor Cal State Armwrestling Championships are this weekend.  IronMind® | Artwork courtesy of Bill Collins.
Men’s open and novice, plus classes for women and kids - the Nor Cal State Armwrestling Championships are this weekend.  IronMind® | Artwork courtesy of Bill Collins.


For details, please call Ruben DePoorter at (530) 739-5245.


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

IronMind® asked Paul Ohl if, looking forward, he had any first thoughts about next year’s competition, and Ohl said, “As we look ahead, to 2010 for instance, we know for a fact that we cannot and will not settle for less than what has been accomplished in 2008 and 2009.”

Ohl, who is the president of Fortissimus said, “[It is] impossible to settle for less.  The concept is not to be altered.  Fortissimus is committed to the ultimate challenge in strongman.  That commands the best strength athletes in the world, the best combination of ten events and the best logistics.  But above all, Fortissimus needs to remain all-inclusive and work in close cooperation with strongman organizations in the USA, Europe, Australia and Asia.  This is a must.”


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

If you’re a weightlifting fan, you know the story about how Kakhi Kakhiashvili was a member of the Soviet Union’s 1992 Olympic weightlifting team, and how the coach, Vasily Alexeev, favored the other Soviet entry in the 90-kg category, Sergei Syrtsov.

Pounding out a 222.5 clean and jerk at the 1993 World Weightlifting Championships, Kakhi Kakhiashvili displays his trademark power jerk.  IronMind® | Randall J. Strossen photo.
Pounding out a 222.5 clean and jerk at the 1993 World Weightlifting Championships, Kakhi Kakhiashvili displays his trademark power jerk.  IronMind® | Randall J. Strossen photo.


The Soviet Union had broken up in 1991 and other than Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, the former Soviet republics competed in the 1992 Olympics as the “Unified Team,” although old rivalries and political lines were still evident.  Thus, the story goes that Alexeev, because he was a Russian, held back Kakhiashvili (a Georgian) in the snatch, so that Syrtsov (also a Russian) could build up what appeared to be an unassailable lead. 

With one attempt remaining, Kakhiashvili was turned free:  all he had to do to overtake Syrtsov and win the Olympic gold medal was equal the world record in the clean and jerk - a whopping 235 kg.  And in a story Hollywood missed, that’s what Kakhiashvili did.  Think about that - a 90-kg guy cleaning and jerking 235 kg with the force of gravity increased by Olympic pressure, and the mantle of political favoritism weighing heavily on top of all that.

The next year at the 1993 World Weightlifting Championships, I was in the training hall when Kakhi and his coach - the most esteemed Ivane Grikurovi - came in.  War and economic hardships had made them weary and the drawn look of hunger was unmistakable.  Nonetheless, the dominant feeling was that this was the pair that had won a real life David versus Goliath encounter, and Kakhi was here to lift, so they were larger than life.

Here it is, a clip spotlighting Kakhi’s workout that day, in his final tune-up for the 1993 World Weightlifting Championships, just added to the IronMind® channel at YouTube.


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

Ilkka Kinnunen is putting on a record-breakers’ meet for 105-kg strongman, and he has invited the top five competitors from the last 105-kg Strongman World Championships, he told IronMind® today.

Strongman isn’t just for giants - that was Ilkka Kinnunen’s idea when he led the charge in 105-kg strongman contests.  IronMind® | Artwork courtesy of Ilkka Kinnunen.
Strongman isn’t just for giants - that was Ilkka Kinnunen’s idea when he led the charge in 105-kg strongman contests.  IronMind® | Artwork courtesy of Ilkka Kinnunen.


The contest is two days, July 31 and August 1, “in South Finland Neuvoton, near Hamina City,” Kinnunen said, and it is organized by Voimapuoti. 

Here is the list of competitors:

Janne Hartikainen (Finland)
Sergii Koniushok (Ukraine)
Alvidas Brazdius (Lithuania)
Maris Rozentals (Latvia)
Gert Gorsanov (Estonia)
Top two from UK
The German champion

Here are the events, by day, along with the record, where available (provided by Ilkka Kinnunen):

Day 1:

Medley: sack loading, farmer’s walk, tire flip
Log for max (record: Patrik Baboumian, 162.5kg)
Farmer’s walk: 120kg/70m (record: Fouad Hsaini, 38.28sec.)
Arm-over-arm pull

Day 2:

Car walk
Deadlift for reps
Conan wheel
Atlas stones (record: Janne Hartikainen, 100 kg, 120 kg, 140 kg, 160 kg, 180 kg in 30.5sec.)

Ilkka Kinnunen and Jani Kolehmainen are the referees and none other than two-time World’s Strongest Man winner Jouko Ahola - now an actor who has appeared in more than a handful of movies - will be the announcer.


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

“I would like to ask what is the reason that the certifications with different rules are on the same list, without even mentioning that they are done with different rules?

“The credit card rule alone makes the performance totally different than it was before the credit card rule. And there has been other changes in rules also, like new out of package gripper.  It is like comparing javelin throw with old javelin model and new javelin model.  Or comparing 100m dash and 110m hurdles.  Bottom line: They are not comparable, yet they are on the same list.”
- question for IronMind® from Timo Hänninen and Petri Hirvonen (Finland)

 "A good question," we said, "thoughtful, with good examples, and one that a lot of people might be interested in," so we decided to turn the answer into a short article because this is not something easily addressed in just a few words. 
 
It began in 1991, recognizing a corner of the strength world that had been largely overlooked and a man who had done something most mere mortals couldn’t fathom was possible.

The face and the measure of a world-class performance in the grip strength world - Richard Sorin closes IronMind®’s No. 3 gripper, officially . . . the first man ever to achieve this feat of grip strength.  IronMind® | Photo courtesy of Richard Sorin.
The face and the measure of a world-class performance in the grip strength world - Richard Sorin closes IronMind®’s No. 3 gripper, officially . . . the first man ever to achieve this feat of grip strength.  IronMind® | Photo courtesy of Richard Sorin.


Grip strength was the area, Richard Sorin was the man, and what he’d done was close IronMind®’s fearsome No. 3 gripper . . . a feat of strength that left many a big, strong guy google-eyed.

Back then, nobody really paid much attention to grip strength, but IronMind® has always marched to its own drummer, and from the company’s first days in 1988 it has focused on grip strength, recognizing outstanding performances in the area.

In those days, as explained in the book Captains of Crush Grippers: What They Are and How To Close Them, the grip world was easily described in two words: Richard and John, as in Richard Sorin and John Brookfield.  From there, what was a small, generally collegial group started to grow and things were uncomplicated, so when IronMind® came up with the idea of certifying Richard Sorin’s fabulous feat of grip strength, our procedures were quite basic: a photo, some back up correspondence and corroboration, and that was about it.

As time passed, it became apparent that IronMind®’s certification program for the most difficult Captains of Crush® Grippers signified not just the most established and most prestigious accomplishment in the grip world, but it had also become well-known throughout the strength world, so more players joined the game.  With growth, things changed and in their quest to get certified, candidates began introducing techniques that IronMind® felt violated the letter or the spirit of the original challenge, so IronMind®’s job as good stewards was to plug the holes as they appeared. 

Thus, rules were added over the years, but - and this is crucial - not to change the landscape, but to keep things level.  We were, in fact, guardians of the status quo, the people who said, “That’s fine if you want to start running an 85-meter dash, but here at IronMind®, we still do the full 100.”

Briefly, the rules for certification follow the chronological order of their introduction and each is tied to a specific incident that created the need for that rule.  As for the most recent additions, let’s consider them for a moment.

For years, there was no need to formally define a legal starting position, even in the very early days when IronMind® sold grippers that were a lot more variable than today’s Captains of Crush® Grippers - some had Grand Canyon spreads.  This is important to understand because even though we used to encourage people to pull in the far handle a bit if necessary, nobody got carried away with this and thus there was no need to get too rigid about things, then.  Enter Kinney Training Adapted (shortened to KTA), Bill Piche’s e-book on gripper training purportedly based on Joe Kinney’s training, and things changed. 

For the record, Joe Kinney said that Bill Piche had one brief phone conversation with him, and Joe Kinney can quickly disabuse you of the the notion that this book reflects his thinking.  What KTA did present, however, was a systematic gripper training program and its key was teaching what has become known as the deep set: encouraging people to position the gripper farther forward in their hand, turning what had been a full-range movement into a partial movement, and thereby giving people a false sense of their strength levels and a ready excuse to complain about the size of their hands.

Because of this, IronMind® had to reign in the partial movements that were an insult to the people who could legitimately perform this prestigious feat of strength - we saw the deep set as making a mockery of things that had an honorable tradition.  For one year, we tried a one-inch rule, found that didn’t work and then we adopted what a lot of people in the grip strength community call “the credit card rule.” 

For more details on this, please see IronMind's News story announcing the credit card rule.

As for the fresh-from-the-package requirement, this too was in response to changes in the landscape: from a known instance of a spring being switched to unabashed shopping around for “an easy No. 3 to cert on,” those without scruples were trying to dilute the Captains of Crush® certification challenge with their frauds, so IronMind® responded by requiring that a factory fresh gripper be opened on the spot, eliminating these loopholes.

So, has the game really changed?  IronMind® would say, “Absolutely not,” and here’s the living proof. 

When the first man ever certified, Richard Sorin, who had done so under the earliest, most basic rules, recently re-certified under the the most up-to-date and complete set of rules, it’s hard to argue that things have changed: the strong are still the strong, and all IronMind® has done has made it more difficult for the charlatans to dilute things.  After all, we figured, they can still run the 85-meter dash if they want to . . . just not in our backyard.

You can mash this and squash that, but getting certified on the hardest Captains of Crush® grippers is what tells the world that you are among the grip-strength elite, the men with the world’s strongest hands.  IronMind® | Randall J. Strossen photo.
You can mash this and squash that, but getting certified on the hardest Captains of Crush® grippers is what tells the world that you are among the grip-strength elite, the men with the world’s strongest hands.  IronMind® | Randall J. Strossen photo.
 


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

David Webster reported, “I am just in from the airport after being in Antigonish,” where he ably announced the IHGF Highland Games Team World Championships, we might add.

“I travelled yesterday and today with Sean Betz (USA), Larry Brock (USA) and Greg Hadley (Canada). They are going to 'warm up' at the Invereray Games on Wednesday.”

Later in the week, the world’s top Highland Games athletes will be converging on Edinburgh, Scotland for the Highland Games World Championships.  IronMind® will be on the field, so keep you eye on this news column and Twitter for our updates.


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

Top performances accompanied what Francis Brebner called “five-star treatment” by Rod Hadley and the  Antigonish Highland Games Organizing Committee as they hosted the International Highland Games Federation (IHGF) Highland Games Team World Championships, where Will Barron and Sean Betz won top honors.

Lead sponsor Steve Smith (center) of Atlantic Windows presents the awards to the winning team of Will Barron (left) and Sean Betz (right).  IronMind® | Photo courtesy of Francis Brebner.
Lead sponsor Steve Smith (center) of Atlantic Windows presents the awards to the winning team of Will Barron (left) and Sean Betz (right).  IronMind® | Photo courtesy of Francis Brebner.


2009 IHGF Highland Games World Team Championships – Day Two

By Francis Breber

The second day’s competition at the 2009 IHGF World Team Championships got off to a strong start for Canadian Matt Docherty, who won the 16-lb. open stone with a putt of 52’ 7”.  In second place was Sean Betz with 50’ 4-1/2” and in third, Mike Zolkiewicz with 50’.
In the next event, the 28-lb. weight for distance, yet another ground record bit the dust.  The large crowd of Highland Games fans cheered on Larry Brock as he blasted out a throw of 86’ 6”, which obliterated the old record of 86’.  In second place was Betz with 84’ 1-3/4” and in third was Will Barron with 81’ 11”.
 The final scoring event of the championships, the 16-lb. hammer, proved a real ding-dong battle between Betz, Brock, and Lyle Barron, with Barron coming out on top with the winning distance of 132’ 10-1/2”.  Betz took second place at 132’ 2-1/2” and Brock took third with 131’ 11”.
 
The challenge caber weighed 130 lb. and was 20’ 1” in length.  Zolkiewicz nailed the win with a toss of 12:30; Lyle Barron was in second with a 12:40 toss; and Brock was in third place with 1:00.

The overall results were as follows:

USA Team 2 – Larry Brock and Mike Zolkiewicz - 67 points
USA Team 1 – Sean Betz and Will Barron - 73
Canada Team 2 – Lyle Barron and Dirk Bishop - 77

Canada Team 1 – Greg Hadley and Matt Docherty - 92.5

Europe Team – Craig Sinclair and Tommy DeBruijn - 125.5

Asking Sean Betz if he was happy with his throwing and what he thought about the whole championships, Betz replied, “I was very happy with my throwing and am feeling good as we move on to next week’s World Championships in Edinburgh, Scotland.”
 


“As for the IHGF World Team Championships, all I can say is it has to be one of the greatest competitions I have ever competed in.  Rod Hadley and the Antigonish Highland Games Committee have done fantastic work hosting these championships and have done nothing but give all us athletes the five-star treatment from the time we arrived until the finish of the Games.  It was just truly fantastic,” with Craig Sinclair of Scotland adding, “I second that.”


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

“Several times a year GNC sends one of the Gillingham brothers to special events at military base GNC stores,” Wade Gillingham told IronMind® yesterday.

Left to right: Wade Gillingham, Karl Gillingham, Matthias Steiner, and Brad Gillingham, at the GNC booth at the 2009 Arnold.  Surrounded by around half a ton of Gillinghams, Matthias Steiner - the 2008 super heavyweight Olympic gold medalist in weightlifting said, “I feel like a little boy.”  Grip strength, strongman, Olympic-style weightlifting and powerlifting - there’s a lot of talent in this photo.  IronMind® | Randall J. Strossen photo.
Left to right: Wade Gillingham, Karl Gillingham, Matthias Steiner, and Brad Gillingham, at the GNC booth at the 2009 Arnold.  Surrounded by around half a ton of Gillinghams, Matthias Steiner - the 2008 super heavyweight Olympic gold medalist in weightlifting said, “I feel like a little boy.”  Grip strength, strongman, Olympic-style weightlifting and powerlifting - there’s a lot of talent in this photo.  IronMind® | Randall J. Strossen photo. 


“[Before heading off to the World Games,] Brad had his last big workout Friday,” Wade said,  “so I was filling in for him this weekend.”

“This is part of GNC's promotional efforts to support our nation’s armed services.  The events include autograph signing, free samples, and drawings or competitions to win prize packages.  Today I was at Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyoming, for a grand reopening of the GNC.  We ran a grip challenge using IronMind® Captains of Crush® Grippers with the individual that closed the hardest gripper for the most reps winning a GNC backpack loaded with product.  Our top effort was one rep with the 1.5.”

When Wade told us that “Karl was also traveling today at another military base,” IronMind® checked in with him, too.

“The military stores are a top priority for GNC,” said Karl.  “Each year, Brad, Wade, and I do multiple appearances at military branches across the country to promote GNC, support the troops and to answer training and supplementation questions.  It is a great program especially in times of conflict like we have now.  Today I was at Fort Rucker in Alabama.  They had their base powerlifting championship and I went over to show support for the contest and to do a grand reopening of the GNC on base.  I met and talked to several helicopter pilots wuo that are heading for the front lines.  I thanked them for their courage and call of duty to our country.  Military personal are ultimately top athletes and anything I can do to help their performance and spirit is good for our freedom fighters.”


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

Taking the event to new heights, literally, Mike Zolkiewicz punched out an 18’ 9” throw in the 56-lb. weight for height today, in the first day of competition at the International Highland Games Federation (IHGF) World Highland Games Team Championships in Antigonish, Nova Scotia (Canada).

Mike Zolkiewicz hit a huge 18’ 9” in the 56-lb. weight for height, for a new world record.  IronMind® | Photo courtesy of Francis Brebner.
Mike Zolkiewicz hit a huge 18’ 9” in the 56-lb. weight for height, for a new world record.  IronMind® | Photo courtesy of Francis Brebner.


Calling the action from the field, Francis Brebner filed this special report for IronMind®:


2009 IHGF World Highland Games Team Championships – Day One

Reported by Francis Brebner

Records tumbled on the first day’s competition of the IHGF World Highland Games Team Championships, with Mike Zolkiewicz establishing a new world record in the 56-lb. weight for height.  That wasn’t all – Greg Hadley broke the Canadian championships record in the 56-lb. weight for distance and Sean Betz broke the Antigonish ground record in the 22-lb. Braemar stone.

In the very first event, the 22-lb. Braemar stone, a new ground record was established by Betz with a distance of 41’ 7-1/2”, breaking the old record of 40’ 5” held by Matt Docherty.  In second place was Zolkiewicz at 41’ 1/2”, with Docherty in third at 39’ 7”.
 
In the 56-lb. weight for distance, Hadley smashed his own Canadian record of 45’ 7” with a tremendous throw of 46’ to set a new Canadian record.  In second was Larry Brock at 45’ 8” and in third, Lyle Barron at 42’ 10-3/4”.
 
The 22-lb. hammer was a very exciting contest, with Lyle Barron taking the win with a world-class throw of 112’ 5-3/4”.  Hadley was in second at 108’ 5-1/2”, with Brock just an inch behind in third spot at 108’ 4-1/2”.
 
The fourth event of the day was the caber toss, with a pole weighing 123-lb. and 21’ 8” in length with very little taper.  First place went to Brock with a toss of 11:00; in second place was Lyle Barron with a 1:00 toss and in third, Betz with 2.15.
 
The final event of the first day’s competition, the 56-lb. weight over the bar, proved riveting for the six thousand spectators, who watched Zolkiewicz win the event at a very impressive height 17’.  In second place was Betz at 16’; Docherty also cleared 16’ but placed third on countback.
 
The excitement did not end there as Zolkiewicz asked for the bar to be raised to the new height of 18’ 9”, which was 1’ 3” higher than the existing Antigonish ground record, held by Holland’s Wout Zjilstra since 2003, and 1” higher than the existing world record of 18’ 8”, also held by Wout Zjilstra.
 
With the crowd encouraging him, Mike’s first three attempts just narrowly missed clearing the bar.  With three more record attempts, Zolkiewicz nailed the second one, establishing the new world record height of 18’ 9” to the wild cheers of the six thousand spectators.

The team scores after day one are as follows:

USA Team 1 – Sean Betz and Will Barron - 43 points
USA Team 2 – Larry Brock and Mike Zolkiewicz - 47
Canada Team 1 – Greg Hadley and Matt Docherty - 50
Canada Team 2 – Lyle Barron and Dirk Bishop  - 55.5
Europe Team - Craig Sinclair and Tommy DeBruijn - 79.5

Tomorrow’s competition will include the scores of the final three events:  the 16-lb. open stone, 28-lb. weight for distance, and 16-lb. hammer.


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

New and improved - they might be magic words in advertising, but are they the keys to your next round of gains?

Steve Jeck’s From the Quarry - when you want steak, not just sizzle.  Courtesy of IronMind®.
Steve Jeck’s From the Quarry - when you want steak, not just sizzle.  Courtesy of IronMind®.

What’s Steve “Inver Stone” Jeck have to say about the subject?  To see, follow the menu from the Training Articles button at the top of the IronMind® homepage to Steve Jeck’s "From the Quarry" or go directly to the Quarry Index page.


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

The location and the dates for the 2009 World’s Strongest Man contest are set and the official announcement will be made shortly, IronMind® has confirmed, so get ready to make your travel plans.

And although the official athlete invitations have not yet gone out, remember that some competitors have already qualified.  Further, we have very good reason to believe that next week could bring some more announcements related to athlete invitations to the 2009 World’s Strongest Man contest, so stay tuned for that as well.


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

Continuing to deliver a full season of strongman competitions featuring a mix of established top professionals along with fresh talent, Strongman Champions League (SCL) appears to be thriving: London is the next stop in the 2009 SCL tour, so watch for SCL-London in Wembley Arena on August 22.

They are on a roll: Strongman Champions League is coming London’s Wembley Arena next month, presenting the contest “on a scale which the discipline of strongman deserves,” said SCL-London organizer Marco Ruggiero of Denim Bison Events.  IronMind®.
They are on a roll: Strongman Champions League is coming London’s Wembley Arena next month, presenting the contest “on a scale which the discipline of strongman deserves,” said SCL-London organizer Marco Ruggiero of Denim Bison Events.  IronMind®.


“The Strongman Champions League series finally makes its debut in London, at the only venue big enough to contain such power!” opens the official press release and hyperbole aside, the London debut of SCL is big news, indeed.

Here is who is on the card and ready to rumble:

Zydrunas Savickas
Terry Hollands
Andrus Murumets
Slawomir Toczeck
Juan Carlos Herredia
Agris Kazelniks
Simon Sulaiman
Mark Felix
Golier Branislav
Jimmy Laureys
Oleksandr Lashyn
Martin Wildauer

For more details, including ticket sales, please go to the SCL-London website.


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

IronMind® got an email from a customer who is something of a gripper fanatic - he said that a No. 3 Captains of Crush® Gripper that he’d recently purchased had “uneven handles . . .,” explaining that  “one handle is placed higher than the other.” 

The No. 3 Captains of Crush® Gripper in question: When 2 mm turned into 12.  IronMind® | Randall J. Strossen photo.
The No. 3 Captains of Crush® Gripper in question: When 2 mm turned into 12.  IronMind® | Randall J. Strossen photo.


This customer said that the handles were not just slightly off, but so far off that he felt the gripper was defective and dysfunctional - incidentally, it’s probably relevant to point out that he isn’t strong enough to close this gripper.

Knowing that anything is possible, IronMind® was quick to acknowledge what he said and suggested that one handle might well be 1 or 2 mm below the other, in which case we would consider this more cosmetic than functional, and also noting that if it were 5 or 10 mm off, then we would consider the gripper to be defective. 

The customer was perfectly clear: “It’s definitely not 1 or 2 mm . . . I didn’t measure it but I would say probably half an inch or 12 mm.”  Well, when IronMind® received the gripper, we did measure it, extremely precisely, and the gap was . . . 2 mm.

From the people who brought you the myths about doglegs and gripper seasoning, as well as a misunderstanding of what gripper calibration means, and who tell you it’s okay to shorten the stroke so you can pretend to be stronger than you are, here’s another chapter in gripper mis-guidance: differences, grossly exaggerated, that make no difference. 

So, if you want to chat, then type away about inconsequential things like this, and maybe even impress your online cronies as you speak about tiny metric units and decimals carried out to the thousandth’s place, but if you look up from the keyboard, you’ll notice that the strongest guys around aren’t listening . . . in fact, they’re not even there. 

Instead, they’re training or doing something else productive - which is why, among other things, they’re stronger than you are.


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

Asked about the upcoming American Strongman Corporation (ASC) America’s Strongest Man® (ASM) contest, ASC president Dione Wessels said, “I am simply HAPPY!!”  And for very good reason.

Tough times don’t stop tough people: ASC is hosting its biggest ASM contest since 2004, ASC president Dione Wessels told IronMind®.  IronMind® | Artwork courtesy of Dione Wessels/ASC.
Tough times don’t stop tough people: ASC is hosting its biggest ASM contest since 2004, ASC president Dione Wessels told IronMind®.  IronMind® | Artwork courtesy of Dione Wessels/ASC.


“Why?  Because this is our largest ASM since 2004,” which is especially meaningful given the tough economic climate: “Sponsors have been very hard to get this year, but we still managed to get $10,000.00 in payout . . . and the city of Morgantown has been awesome to work with and extremely accommodating.”

“I think this show is one of the first breaks in the many obstacles we have had to face in the last four years and more recently in the last two years.  It also shows some unity for the sport as we are willing to work with any organization to further the sport in America and throughout the world.”

And just who’s thrown in hat into ring?  Here’s the official start list: David Hansen, Matt Wanat, Brad Dunn, Rob Meulenberg, Van Hatfield, Tamás Malatinszki, Carl Foemmel, John Conner, Warrick Brant, Travis Ortmayer, Marshall White, Scott Weech, Brian Turner, Chad Coy, Nick Courtad, Jason Davidson, Pete Konradt, Andy Vincent, Matt Dawson, Kevin Nee, and Derek Poundstone.

For full details, please check the official ASC website.


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

Fit for royalty, the Homecoming and Highland Games World Championships, in fact, are set to welcome Prince Charles, heading the huge crowd expected in Edinburgh, Scotland next week.

Sean Betz, shown at the 2005 Highland Games World Championships (Fergus, Ontario) is a top pick to leave Edinburgh next week with the 2009 title.  IronMind® | Randall J. Strossen photo.
Sean Betz, shown at the 2005 Highland Games World Championships (Fergus, Ontario) is a top pick to leave Edinburgh next week with the 2009 title.  IronMind® | Randall J. Strossen photo.


“I have had meetings in Edinburgh and visited Holyrood Park this week  . . . It looks brilliant,” David Webster, OBE reported.  And as for the Highland Games World Championships specifically, David said, “Judging by early season results, the standard will be high.”

Steve Conway, prominent Highland Games Athletic Director, told IronMind®, “My take on the Pro Worlds is that it will be a very close contest; it seems that everyone is throwing very well right now.  I don't know much about Hans Lolkema or Aaron Neighbour but I hear that they are both very strong in all the events.  Craig Sinclair and Greg Hadley have put up some nice hammer marks recently, and Larry Brock, HB3 [Harrison Bailey III], Sean Betz, Bruce Robb, Pat Hellier, and Eric Frasure have the proven track records, while Tommy DeBruyn seems to keep getting better as he gains more Pro experience.  With that said and given that this venue will probably draw a huge crowd, I'd look for one of the veteran throwers to pull out the victory.”

Former Highland Games world champion Francis Brebner, now turning his energy to judging and reporting on the Games, told IronMind®, “I have to tip Sean to win again after seeing his strong start to the season and he still seems to be improving, but my top three would have to be Betz, Brock, and Aaron Neighbour.”

IronMind® will be there on the field, so stay tuned for more news and plan to follow our live updates on Twitter as well.


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

Described as a “crossover” athlete when he won the Alba Highland Games last weekend, Sebastian Wenta proved the accuracy of that profile as he won the Highlander Challenge for the third time . . . in fact, it’s three wins in a row for the Polish strongman–Highland Games competitor.

Kyrylo Chuprynin was second, Scott Rider was third, Aaron Neighbour was fourth and Wout Zjilstra was fifth.

Held at Glenarm Castle in Northern Ireland and “overseen by the Earl of Antrim, who gave away The Devastator trophy,” the Highlander Games are a Highland Games–strongman hybrid with ancient warrior overtones that have been positioned by Douglas Edmunds as a much needed mediagenic alternative to the traditional Highland Games.

Colin Bryce - no stranger to top performances in the Highland Games and in strongman - told IronMind®, “Probably the best performance was 60’ 10” in the 16-pound stone put by Sebastian Wenta.”


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

It’s a different kind of strongman contest: sure it features stones, logs and pulling a truck, but it’s also a fundraiser - for Fragile X - and it’s drug tested.

Let’s start with the money: “Once again all money raised will be donated to the Fragile X Research Foundation,” meet director and Rainier CrossFit founder Kurtis Bowler told IronMind®.  “In the last three years we have sent over $25,000 to FRAXA.  One of the great things about FRAXA is that 92% of the money they take in goes directly to fund research.”

There are two women’s classes, three men’s classes, and “the top finisher in each weight class will be tested for performance enhancing drugs,” said Bowler.  “US Healthworks will be handling the drug testing for us again this year.”

For details, please check the Mt. Rainier's Strongest website.
 


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

Unlike some strength sports, wine instead of whine was the order of the day at the Redwood Empire Open Weightlifting Championships in Sonoma Country, California.

Rather than idling away last Saturday chasing cats or taking a nap, Tater headed to Cotati, in Northern California’s world famous wine country, for the Redwood Empire Open Weightlifting Championships - where a good time was had by all.  IronMind® | Randall J. Strossen photo.
Rather than idling away last Saturday chasing cats or taking a nap, Tater headed to Cotati, in Northern California’s world famous wine country, for the Redwood Empire Open Weightlifting Championships - where a good time was had by all.  IronMind® | Randall J. Strossen photo.


Limited to 60 competitors, the Redwood Empire Open drew lifters from across the board - young, not so young; men and women; novice and experts, alike.  At the expert end, lifters included Ian Wilson, the 15-year-old who is making waves in the weightlifting world, and Donnie Shankle, a top American weightlifter in the 105-kg category.

Set in Cotati, California’s La Plaza park, this meet showed how much fun Olympic weightlifting can be . . . hats off to Myles Ahead Fitness and the PWA.


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

Adding another feather to his cap, Larry Brock won the prestigious Grandfather Mountains Highland Games this past weekend.

Getting long in the hammer, Larry Brock gets ready to launch another big throw.  IronMind® | File photo by Francis Brebner.
Getting long in the hammer, Larry Brock gets ready to launch another big throw.  IronMind® | File photo by Francis Brebner.


2009 Grandfather Mountain Highland Games

Reported by Francis Brebner

The 54th Grandfather Mountain Highland Games held this past weekend included a first-class lineup of America’s best heavy athletes, who battled it out over the two-day event.
 
The star lineup included Larry Brock, Mike Pockoski, Eric Frasure, Kerry Overfelt, Bert Sorin, Chris St. Clair, Chris Chafin, and Kearney Smith.
 
The Games got off to a great start for Frasure, who won the 20-lb. open stone with a distance of 48’ 2”.  This throw is a huge improvement in Frasure’s putting over last season.  In close second was Brock at 48’ and in third was Sorin at 46’ 11”.
 
In the 56-lb. weight for distance, Brock pulled out the winning throw of 44’ 11”, with Overfelt in second at 42’ 11” and Pockoski in third at 40’ 1-1/2”.
 
The 28-lb. weight for distance was another close skirmish between Brock and Overfelt, with Brock snatching his second win of the day with a distance of 82’ 4”.  In second was Overfelt at 81’ 5” and in third, Frasure at 79’ 5-1/2”.
 
Competition in the 22-lb. hammer was fierce indeed between Pockoski, Brock, and Overfelt, with Pockoski coming out on top with a distance of 112’ 1”, leaving Brock in second at 110’ 4” and Overfelt just behind in third spot at 109’ 10-1/2”.
 
In the caber toss, with a 19’ 6” and 130-lb. pole, it was Pockoski and Frasure who shared the win with perfect 12' tosses.  In third, equal were Brock, St. Clair and Overfelt with tosses of 12' 15".
 
The final event of the competition, the 56-lb. weight over the bar, witnessed four athletes establishing a new ground record as Brock, Pockoski, Frasure and Overfelt all tied at 17’ 6”.
 
Brock, who is looking on form for next weekend’s IHGF World Highland Games Team Championships, which will be held in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, said he was very happy with his performance and is looking forward to possibly bringing the team title home to the USA.

Final standings:

1.  Larry Brock        14 points
2.  Mike Pockoski    18.5
3.  Eric Frasure        20
 


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

Far and away the premier event in strongman, testing “the limits of human strength, power and endurance,” the World’s Strongest Man contest is “viewed around the world by millions of people every year . . .,” and leading up to the 2009 competition, watch for a revamped World’s Strongest Man website soon.

And, as you wait, go to the World's Strongest Man website for your chance to win a 30 Years of Pain DVD autographed by Geoff Capes.


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

Crossover competitor Sebastian Wenta won the Alva Highland Games over the weekend.

Sebastian Wenta is also a top strongman competitor; here, he’s competing in the 2008 World’s Strongest Man contest.  IronMind® | Randall J. Strossen photo.
Sebastian Wenta is also a top strongman competitor; here, he’s competing in the 2008 World’s Strongest Man contest.  IronMind® | Randall J. Strossen photo.


2009 Alva Highland Games

Reported by Francis Brebner

The Alva Highland Games in Scotland this past weekend were invaded by a top international field of heavy athletes from around the globe.  More than 10,000 spectators poured into the Games to watch the big names like Sebastian Wenta and brother Lukasz Wenta, who shared top billing with the boys from down under, Aaron Neighbour and Pat Hellier, and Scotland’s own Bruce Robb and Craig Sinclair.


The opening event got off to an exciting start with some of the biggest throws I have seen in the 16-lb. shot put at a Highland Games in the past 20-some years.  Sebastian Wenta blasted out an awesome throw of 58’ 5” for first place.  Just inches behind was younger brother Lukasz Wenta in second place with a throw of 57’ 8”; in third place was the big Australian Aaron Neighbour at 55’ 8”, followed by Bruce Robb in fourth at 52’ 8”.


The next event, the 22-lb. stone, was just as thrilling, if not more so, with Sebastian Wenta producing another world-class throw of 48’ 6” for his second win.  Once again Lukasz Wenta was in second place with another awesome throw of 46’ 11”, with Scotland’s Robb nudging ahead of Neighbour at 44’ 4”, leaving Neighbour in fourth place at 43’ 9”.


The 28-lb. weight for distance, a very dour weight to throw, was a piece of cake for Neighbour, who claimed his first win with a distance of 85’.  A real tussle developed between Sebastian Wenta, Robb and Sinclair for second place, with Wenta snatching the spot with a throw of 78’ 10”.  Robb landed in third at 78’ 7” and Sinclair in fourth at 78’ 3”.


Again in the 16-lb. hammer it was a ding-dong battle, with Neighbour coming out on top with his second win, a distance of 133’ 11”.  In second was Sebastian Wenta at 132’ 6” and in third Sinclair at 132’ 1”.  New Zealander Pat Hellier took fourth place at 125’ 6”.

 

There was a real surprise in the 22-lb. hammer when Sebastian Wenta threw a colossal distance of 113’ 3” for his third win of the competition.  Neighbour, Sinclair and Hellier battled it out for second spot, with Neighbour just going ahead with a throw of 109’ 5”; in third was Sinclair with 108’ 5” and in fourth, Hellier at 107’ 2”.


The next event used a 220-lb., 16’ long caber, and it must be said that this is probably one of the heaviest cabers ever tossed even though it is on the short side.  As one athlete noted, it was very thick, with very little taper, and it is actually a new telephone pole—a pure beast!  Sebastian Wenta showed great form and Herculean strength, and he was the only athlete to turn the caber, with a result of 12:10.  Robb was second with a fair attempt at 88 degrees, with Neil Elliot in third place with 80 degrees, and Hellier in fourth with 75 degrees.


In the final event of the competition, the 56-lb. weight over the bar, Sebastian Wenta took the win at a height of 16’ 2”.  In a second place tie at 15’ were Lukasz Wenta and Neighbour.


Final standings:

1. Sebastian Wenta
2. Aaron Neighbour
3. Bruce Robb

 


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

Heinz Ollesch put his considerable muscle to the task this weekend and gave the youngsters a lesson in truck pulling as he won the inaugural German Truck Pull Championships.

Heinz Ollesch churns out the winning time at this weekend’s German Truck Pulling Championships.  IronMind® | Photo courtesy of Heinz Ollesch.
Heinz Ollesch churns out the winning time at this weekend’s German Truck Pulling Championships.  IronMind® | Photo courtesy of Heinz Ollesch. 


Held in Ingolstadt, Germany with more than 1,000 people watching, 15 athletes battled it out in one of the best known and most popular strongman events: the truck pull.  A 22-ton truck was pulled 20 meters, with Ollesch covering the course in under 34 seconds.

Here are the top three:

1. Heinz Ollesch 33.69 seconds
2. Tobias Ide   35.94
3. Florian Trimpl 37.74
 


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

Competing on Saturday at the Halifax Highland Games, Team Canada tuned up the for the International Highland Games Federation (IHGF) World Team Championships.

Lyle Barron on the caber at the 45th Halifax Highland Games.  IronMind® | Photo courtesy of Francis Brebner.
 Lyle Barron on the caber at the 45th Halifax Highland Games.  IronMind® | Photo courtesy of Francis Brebner.


2009 Halifax Highland Games
Reported by Francis Brebner

In the last major tune-up before the first-ever IHGF World Team Championships in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Team Canada took the field at the 45th Halifax Highland Games on June 11.  Team Canada’s Greg Hadley, Matt Doherty, Lyle Barron and Dirk Bishop shared the field with 5 other Eastern Canadian athletes in hopes of working out any last minute kinks ahead of the big show in Antigonish. 

Things got started with a bang in the 23-lb. Braemar stone.  Greg Hadley took the win with a field record of 40’ 6”; second was Matt Doherty at 39’ 6”, and third was Lyle Barron at 38’ 4”.

The open stone, 17.1 lb., was a similar story.  This time it was Doherty who hit a field record at 52’ 7”.  Hadley went 48’11” for second and Barron went 44’ 7” for third.
 
The 56-lb. weight for distance saw several athletes hit season bests.  Hadley finished first with a new Canadian record at 45’ 7.5”, in a series that also saw him foul a 47’ 9” throw.  Barron hit 40’ for second, with Dirk Bishop at 37’ 8” for third.
 
In the 28-lb. weight for distance, Hadley’s season best of 83’ 10” secured first place.  Doherty went 76’ 8” for second, with Barron in third at 75’ 3”.
 
The 22-lb. hammer was the only letdown of the day.  Barron, who was coming off throwing the 16-lb hammer 140’ 12 days ago, won the event with a 107’ 8”.  Hadley and Doherty claimed second and third at 103’ and 99’ 10”, respectively.  All athletes were looking for more.
 
The caber toss was an old-fashioned shoot-out, with an implement standing 21’ 6” and weighing a light 100 lb.  Hadley, Barron and Bishop all secured 12:00 throws and finished in that order.
 
The 56-lb. weight for height was the last event of the day.  In a thrilling contest, Doherty cleared 17’ on a tie-breaker throw for first place, bringing the Halifax crowd of 1,000 to its feet.  Danny Frame, also from Nova Scotia and a true up-and-comer, took three valiant attempts at 17’ but was just short.  His 16’ snagged him second.  Lyle Barron claimed third.
 
All IHGF athletes will arrive in Antigonish this Wednesday, July 15, for several days of fan activities, sightseeing, and good old-fashioned maritime hospitality.

Here are the top three overall:

1.  Greg Hadley 23 points
2.  Lyle Barron   29
3.  Matt Doherty 31


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

“A new Dutch strongman champion is crowned,” Marcel Mostert told IronMind®.  “His name is Simon Sulaiman.”

“I am happy Simon [Sulaiman] took this title,” Marcel Mostert said.  “He competes already 9 nine years in Dutch strongman, so he deserved it!”  IronMind® | Courtesy of Marcel Mostert.
“I am happy Simon [Sulaiman] took this title,” Marcel Mostert said.  “He competes already 9 nine years in Dutch strongman, so he deserved it!”  IronMind® | Courtesy of Marcel Mostert. 


The Dutch National Championships in strongman enjoyed “a good athmosphere with sunny weather and 4,000 visitors,” Mostert reported to IronMind®.   “We had a great, exciting match on Saturday, July 11.”  Changing the field, Jarno Hams was out due his recent injury, and  since Harms has “taken the Dutch title for the past 5 years in a row, Simon Sulaiman had a big chance to win his first Dutch Championship ever,” Mostert said.  “But it was not an easy job.

“There was a field of 12 finalists, who came out of 4 qualifiers earlier in the year.  More than 100 athletes had fought this year to come into this finals.  In the finals, there where a few strong newcomers, who are promising for the future.”

The contest had 7 events: Medley, Deadlift , Atlas Stones, Log Lift , Truck Pull, Hercules Hold and Power Stairs.
 
After winning the first event, the Medley, Sulaiman then stood in second or third place for the rest of the contest, Mostert said.  “Four times there was another leader, so it was very exiting and [the competitors were] close to each other!  In the very last event, the Power Stairs, Simon attacked and won the Power Stairs (blocks of 175, 225, 275 kg).  He beat Alex Moonen, until then in first place overall, and took the title: Dutch Strongest Man 2009 in the last seconds,” said Mostert.
 
Final results:
 
1. Simon Sulaiman  61.5 points
2. Alex Moonen  59.5
3. Jan Wagenaar  56.5
4. Tom Jansen  56
5. Richard van der Linden  54.5
6. Dennis Gort  46,5
7. Maikel Bagerman  43.5
8. Rick van der Torre  40
9. Gijs Boeijen  39.5
10. Peter de Jong  34.5
11. Arno Louwsma  29.5
12. Johan Langhorst  24.5


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

This year has presented more than its share of challenges as, among other things, the financial markets were exposed as being as fundamentally weak as people who don’t squat enough.

In a slump or not sure how to reach your goals?  IronMind® has some suggestions.
In a slump or not sure how to reach your goals?  IronMind® has some suggestions.


But fear not, IronMind® has more than enough good cheer to share . . . keep your eye on your mailbox because IronMind®’s Summer 2009 flyer is in the hands of the US Postal Service, making its way to you.

If you weren’t smiling already, we hope to change that soon . . . PRs are on their way!


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

Best known for his Olympic-style weightlifting career, David Morgan gave the CrossFit King Kong workout a try, just to see how he’d stack up on the strength-endurance challenge involving cycles of deadlifts, muscle-ups, cleans and handstand press-ups.

Maybe you’ve seen him lift at the Olympics or the Commonwealth Games, or heard his voice on Eurosport - Dave Morgan has quite a background in the strength world and just for the fun of it, he recently gave the CrossFit King Kong workout a shot.  IronMind® | Image courtesy of Dave Morgan/BeYourBest.
Maybe you’ve seen him lift at the Olympics or the Commonwealth Games, or heard his voice on Eurosport - Dave Morgan has quite a background in the strength world and just for the fun of it, he recently gave the CrossFit King Kong workout a shot.  IronMind® | Image courtesy of Dave Morgan/BeYourBest.


Morgan, for the record, is 44, so he’s something of a senior citizen in the crowd of super-fitsters, but no matter, he figured.  Showing his confidence, instead of using the standard of 255 lb. for the clean and 455 lb. for the deadlift, Morgan upped the ante to 275 lb./500 lb., respectively. 

Facing a record time of 2.31.47 Morgan ran through the workout in a mere 2.04 and later told IronMind®, “I could have done it with 300 lb. and 600 lb.”  Take a look at his clip on YouTube and see what you think.

Morgan, who is quick to commend the difficulty of this CrossFit challenge given its demands to be both strong and fit, is no ordinary trainee: Besides being a five-time Commonwealth Games gold medalist in weightlifting and a two-time Olympian in the sport, Morgan’s good at a handful of other lifts and has a history of taking on and succeeding at a range of physical challenges.

“I can do that,” Morgan is known to say, and once again he’s delivered a top performance - just the ticket for the man who’s book, like his gym, is called Be Your Best . . . an appealing title proven to be something of a wolf in sheep’s clothing.


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

“The Hassle Free BBC is pleased to announce the return of the Tommy Kono Open on Sunday, August 9 in Sacramento,” according to a just-released statement.

Tommy Kono (center) sports the Sacramento High letter jacket given to him at a 2006 dinner in his honor.  That’s Don Wilson (left) and Jim Schmitz (right) . . . three good reasons why the Pacific Weightlifting Association has the mighty legacy that it does.  IronMind® | Randall J. Strossen photo.
Tommy Kono (center) sports the Sacramento High letter jacket given to him at a 2006 dinner in his honor.  That’s Don Wilson (left) and Jim Schmitz (right) . . . three good reasons why the Pacific Weightlifting Association has the mighty legacy that it does.  IronMind® | Randall J. Strossen photo.


“This is our fourth year and this year's event will be bigger and better than ever.  Once again Tommy Kono himself will be attending and conducting a hands-on coaching clinic on Saturday, August 8.  Kono IV will be a single-platform event held in the Mel Lawson Theater on the Sacramento High Campus.  The theater makes for a dramatic lifting venue and the adjacent open and airy campus quad will have 10 warm-up platforms.  We have some great changes to the venue planned and we are working hard to make sure the air conditioning is working this year.”

Tommy Kono, a Sacramento kid who made good, is a legend in the weightlifting world, a two-time Olympic gold medalist who broke world records by the handful.  Arnold said that as a young man he was inspired by Tommy Kono and used the word “studly” to describe him, for good reason - besides his lifting prowess, Tommy Kono was no slouch as a bodybuilder either.

Check out the flyer for the Tommy Kono Open or go to the website for an entry form.


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

Set for Gdansk, Poland on August 1, Giants Live - the official qualifying tour for the World’s Strongest Man (WSM) contest - will be providing “the last chance to gain a full qualification spot at WSM,” a Giants Live spokesman told IronMind® today.

Giants Live - the official qualifying tour for the World’s Strongest Man - will be concluding its inaugural season next month, in Gdansk, Poland.  IronMind® | Artwork courtesy of Giants Live.

Giants Live - the official qualifying tour for the World’s Strongest Man - will be concluding its inaugural season next month, in Gdansk, Poland.  IronMind® | Artwork courtesy of Giants Live.


The details for this year’s World’s Strongest Man contest are yet to be announced, but tradition would place it in the general area of late September.  Regardless, though, despite all the attempts to outdo it on this dimension or that, World’s Strongest Man remains head and shoulders above its competitors in terms of name recognition, status and market value - for its winners as well as for all other stakeholders.  Thus, Giants Live, by virtue of being the official qualifying tour for WSM, provides the pathway to success in the world of strongman, and strongman competitors are eager to gain an invitation that will allow them to put their best foot forward.

In a year of extremely limited funds, professional strongman organizers have done well to stay afloat, and expectations are that those tours - such as Giants Live - that survived the challenges of the 2009 global economic doldrums will turn a corner next year.  In fact, Giants Live founder Colin Bryce told IronMind®, “As for 2010 - we are full steam ahead for Giants Live!”

More details on the Giants Live - Gdansk contest and on the 2009 World’s Strongest Man contest will be following, so stay tuned.


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

Like many in the strongman world, we at IronMind® were devastated to hear the news of Lene Karlsen’s death and it has taken me this long to bring myself to say anything about Lene in public.

Lene Karlsen gives the Hercules Hold a lift at Jim Davis’s 2003 American Strongman Championships.  IronMind® | Randall J. Strossen photo.
Lene Karlsen gives the Hercules Hold a lift at Jim Davis’s 2003 American Strongman Championships.  IronMind® | Randall J. Strossen photo.


I met Lene at Ilkka Kinnunen’s 2001 Helsinki Grand Prix and while there were plenty of reasons why Lene might catch your eye, one thing I noticed was that this woman with hair good enough for a shampoo commercial wasn’t just intently following the contest, she was simultaneously timing events, taking notes, and snapping an occasional picture. 

MILO material,” I thought, never guessing that in the coming years, Lene Alexandra Karlsen would enter the inner circle of MILO authors, becoming our nonpareil reporter on strongman contests.

Lene Karlsen made no bones about such girlie things as having so many pairs of shoes that she had to keep some of them at her father’s house, but she also was no stranger to rolling up her sleeves and jumping in to do her job as a reporter.  It was Lene Karlsen who managed to snag the elusive Big Z (Zydrunas Savickas) for an exclusive MILO story, and her colorful quips (often filled with innuendoes or puns that we reluctantly had to edit per the bowdlerized standards of MILO), brought a lot of smiles to IronMind® as we read her articles.

Multitasking, it turned out, was one of Lene’s special skills, as evidenced in her report on Raimonds Bergmanis’s All-Strength World Cup:

“  . . . everywhere I turned, I was looking at a big butt - thirty-six of them . . . big, great strongmen!  I have to admit that I doubted my skills in writing this report.  It’s hard to keep track of 36 athletes, my son, 4-years-old and running all over, my husband Svend competing, all in 27° C/81° F weather!”

But for all her hard work, there was the glitter side, too, and while she might have been better suited for the life of a rock star or a movie actress, Lene Karlsen landed in the world of strongman and for that we’re all very fortunate.  We weren’t ready to give her up quite yet, but that didn’t turn out to be our choice.  Nonetheless, we are thankful for having Lene while we did - a little Lene could pack a lot of sunshine. 

“You know what they say: money can’t buy you happiness, but I’d rather cry in a limo than in a mini-van . . . .”  Lene Alexandra Karlsen.

We will miss you a lot, Lene - may you rest in peace.
 


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

Very popular Russian strongman Mikhail Koklyaev is scheduled to undergo surgery for his torn biceps on Thursday.

Putting his Olympic-style weightlifting background to good use in a strongman contest, Mikhail Koklyaev squat cleans the IronMind® Apollon’s Axle™ at the recent Giants Live competition held at the Mohegan Sun.  IronMind® | Randall J. Strossen photo.
Putting his Olympic-style weightlifting background to good use in a strongman contest, Mikhail Koklyaev squat cleans the IronMind® Apollon’s Axle™ at the recent Giants Live competition held at the Mohegan Sun.  IronMind® | Randall J. Strossen photo.


Coming off a solid performance in recent strongman competitions and with more than one insider picking him for the podium at the 2009 World’s Strongest Man contest, Mikhail Koklyaev tore his biceps almost one week ago and has undergone the preliminary examination before his scheduled surgery “in a specialized sports hospital.”  In addition to his strongman competitions, Koklyaev was in heavy training for the Russian Weightlifting Championships next month, where he would have been a favorite to win the +105-kg category title yet again. 

IronMind® has been told that assurances of a successful outcome have been given by the expert medical team treating Koklyaev, and in addition a skilled surgical crew, he will have the backing of strongman fans worldwide when he hits the operating table later this week.


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

“We just secured a title sponsor, Elite Nutrition in Omaha, Nebraska, for the 1st Annual NAHA Nationals,” North American Highlander Association founder D. J. Satterfield told IronMind® today.

“There will now be a total of $1,000 paid out in cash.  This will be divided among the top 3 in each division.  In the event one of the divisions doesn't fill up, then those monies will be split among the other divisions.”

“We are very happy to have this opportunity to give back to the athletes at our first ever Nationals.”

The North American Highland Association combines traditional Highland Games and strongman events in one competition.


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

Head to California’s wine country this Saturday for some good weightlifting and a lot of fun - Myles Ahead Fitness is holding its third annual Redwood Empire Weightlifting Championships in Cotati’s La Plaza Park, where meet director Freddie Myles says you should expect, “Big crowds, big lifts, BBQ, beer and sunshine.”

Freddie Myles, who holds the Pacific Weightlifting Association men’s snatch record in both the 85- and 94-kg categories, is the meet director for this coming weekend’s Redwood Empire Weightlifting Championships.  IronMind® | Randall J. Strossen photo.
Freddie Myles, who holds the Pacific Weightlifting Association men’s snatch record in both the 85- and 94-kg categories, is the meet director for this coming weekend’s Redwood Empire Weightlifting Championships.  IronMind® | Randall J. Strossen photo. 


The Pacific Weightlifting Association (PWA) has a long, prestigious history in American weightlifting and it has produced some of the USA’s top international weightlifters, along with some of the sport’s leading administrators.  And if you’re new to Olympic-style weightlifting, here’s a chance to see a terrific, fun meet - set in Northern California’s famed wine country.

For the start list, please visit the Myles Ahead website, and for the schedule/driving directions, please go to the Redwood Empire Weightlifting Championships page.


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

With fine weather and a solid crowd backing him, Bruce Robb continued on his winning streak, adding the Cupar Highland Games title to his 2009 victory list.
 

2009 Cupar Highland Games
Reported by Francis Brebner



The Cupar Highland Games in Duffus Park, Scotland had a great day of weather and more than 3,500 spectators and tourists who come through the gates, some of whom had traveled from as far as Russia, Canada, New Zealand, and China to watch our heavy athletes do battle and to get a firsthand taste of the fine Scottish culture.

Amongst the athlete lineup was the eleven-time New Zealand Highland Games champion Pat Hellier, who had arrived only on Saturday.  He did not waste any time and got right into the thick of competition the following day at the Cupar Games.

Pat will be representing New Zealand in the IHGF World Championships in Edinburgh, Scotland on 25 - 26 July, and he arrived early in Scotland to acclimatize and get in as much competition and preparation as possible before the World Championships, a very wise decision on his part.



The heavy events opened with the 16-lb. shot, with Bruce Robb smashing the ground record with a put of 53’ 9”.  This record was previously held by Gregor Edmunds of Scotland with a distance of 53’ 1”.  In second place was the New Zealander Pat Hellier at 50’ 9”, and in third place was Neil Elliot at 47’ 5”.

In the 22-lb. shot Bruce Robb notched another win with a very good put of 44’ 7”; in second place was Hellier at 42’ 6” and in third, Elliot at 39’.


The 28-lb. weight for distance was a real battle between Robb and Craig Sinclair, with Robb just going ahead of Sinclair for his third straight win with a throw of 82’ 2”.  Sinclair was inches behind in second with 81’ 6”, and Hellier was in third spot at 77’ 10”.

But with the 16-lb. light hammer, Sinclair still showed that he was top dog with the hammers and the man to beat in Scotland with a first place win of 126’.  In second was Hellier at 119’ 4” and in third was Robb at 118’ 5”.



The 22-lb. heavy hammer also was claimed by Sinclair with a winning throw of 106’ 4”.  Robb managed to pull out 102’ 6” for second place over the New Zealander Hellier, who had to settle for third with his throw of 98’ 7”.



In the 56-lb. weight over the bar, Robb excelled with a winning height of 15’; second was Sinclair with 14’ 6” and third was Hellier with 14’.

The final event was the caber toss, with a 19’, 125-lb. implement.  Robb showed great form, with a winning toss of 12:06; second was Elliot with 12:10 and in third equal were Sinclair and Hellier with 75 degrees.

Overall top three:

1. Bruce Robb  32 points
2. Craig Sinclair  24.5

3. Pat Hellier  23.5

Bruce Robb has had almost a clean sweep so far this season in Scotland, taking first overall in nearly every competition he’s been in.  He should prove to be a strong contender at this year’s IHGF World Championships if he can maintain his dominating peak performance. 
The next Games for the athletes on the Scottish circuit will be Alva on 11 July and Stirling on 12 July.


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

“From the start, in October 2007, FORTISSIMUS WORLD STRENGTH had made a commitment to taking the sport of strongman to another level,” opened the prepared statement Fortissimus released to IronMind® today.

The proud winner of Fortissimus 2009, Zydrunas Savickas, displays his trophy.  IronMind® | Marc-Andre Le Tourneaux photo, courtesy of Fortissimus World Strength.
The proud winner of Fortissimus 2009, Zydrunas Savickas, displays his trophy.  IronMind® | Marc-Andre Le Tourneaux photo, courtesy of Fortissimus World Strength.


“It began in 2008, with the Louis Cyr World Strength Challenge and it went a step further in 2009, with Fortissimus Strongest Man on Earth,” continues the statement:

“After reviewing the official results, supervised by Dione Wessels, president of the American Strongman Corporation, and Liette Latreille-Lauzon, senior scorekeeper of Fortissimus 2009, FORTISSIMUS WORLD STRENGTH announces that a total of six world records of strength have been established.  Four by Zydrunas Savickas of Lithuania, one each by Derek Poundstone and Brian Shaw of the the United States.

“ZYDRUNAS SAVICKAS, winner of  2009 Fortissimus Strongest Man on Earth, is credited with four (4) world records: Super Yoke of 925 lb. ( 420.5 kg) on a 30-meter course in 18 seconds; Overhead Medley of 10 lifts (3 x two-arm and 7 x one-arm) for a combined 2,402.5 lb. ( 1,092 kg); One-arm Dumbbell Medley of 7 lifts, including a one-arm max 225 lb. (103 kg), for a combined 1315 lb. (598 kg) in 37.19 seconds; heaviest overall poundage lifted in a strongman competition with 36,886.5 lb. (16,767 kg).
   
“DEREK POUNDSTONE, runner-up at 2009 Fortissimus Strongest Man on Earth, is credited with one (1) world record: Farmer’s Walk with a combined 1,354 lb. (615.5 kg) over a 60-meter course (2 x 30 meters) in 38.08 seconds

“BRIAN SHAW, third place winner of 2009 Fortissimus Strongest Man on Earth is credited
with one (1) world record: 9 Stones of Strength (6 x Atlas Stones and 3 x Natural Stones) combining 3,375 lb. (1,534.5 kg) in 1 min 26.56 seconds.”

Paul Ohl, president of Fortissimus 2009, added:

“By the facts and figures Fortissimus 2009 succeeded in bringing the sport of strongman to new standards.  This has to be good news for the world strength community and to the upcoming international strength athletes. 

“This competition will go down as one of the greatest encounter in strongman bar none.  A perfect match between two of the best ever: Zydrunas Savickas and Derek Poundstone.  The results of Fortissimus 2009 show without any possible doubt that Zydrunas Savickas was near perfect in getting 124.5 points out of 140.  He won six out of 10 events, averaged 93% of  successful lifts, got four world records and won the ultimate title.

“Such accomplishments must be highlighted in  the history of the sport of strongman,” concluded the statement.


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

IronMind® has confirmed that Russian strongman star Mikhail Koklyaev has torn his biceps.

Koklyaev, known for his engaging personality as well as his tremendous talent as a strength athlete, was seen as the most likely candidate to be the first Russian to win the World’s Strongest Man contest - something insiders predicted as possibly happening this year. 

Now, strongman fans will have to wait until next year to see this popular strongman appear in the World’s Strongest Man contest for the first time.


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

“The final was really a final!” WSMSS’s Kjell Karlsson reported to IronMind®, as Marshall White won the series’ inaugural contest in Bucharest today.

The last event was the Atlas Stones and “four of the competitors managed to put all of them in place,” said Karlsson.  “Marshall made it in 26.8 seconds and Nick Best needed 35.78 seconds.  In third place, Johannes Arsjo, the young Swede, finished in another two seconds.  The Atlas Stones became really decisive and these three ended up on the podium in the same order,” said Karlsson.

Final results:

1. Marshall White - 28.5
2. Nick Best - 27
3. Johannes Arsjo - 26.75
4. Brian Shaw - 24.5
5. Stojan Todorchev - 23.5
6. Janne Virtanen
 


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

PLSE’s Ekaterina Mayorskaya told IronMind® today, “Mikhail Koklyaev was gravely injured.”

“Consequently he will not be able to participate in all the planned events for about half a year.  I regret the necessity to cancel all his obligations for the rest of 2009,” Ms. Mayorskaya continued.

“It goes without saying that after Mikhail`s completely recovery he will be eager to resume his active participation in international tournaments,” said Ms.Mayorskaya.


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

With lots of action at the WSM Super Series strongman competition in Bucharest today, America strongman are making their mark.

Brian Shaw won the first event, the Apollon’s Axle, and Marshall White won the second event, the Husafell Stone.

More details to follow and get flash reports on Twitter.


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

The August issue of Iron Man magazine is loaded with things to help you reach your bodybuilding goals, including the classic Jimmy Caruso and Gene Mozee photos of Arnold in his prime - this is part of Iron Man’s Happy Birthday Arnold issue.

Olympic gold medalist Matthias Steiner had a chance to meet his hero - California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger - at the IronMind® Invitational, a weightlifting exhibition at the Arnold Sports Festival.  IronMind®
Olympic gold medalist Matthias Steiner had a chance to meet his hero - California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger - at the IronMind® Invitational, a weightlifting exhibition at the Arnold Sports Festival.  IronMind®


And speaking of California’s governor, this issue of Iron Man also features “The Austrian Connection at the Arnold,” the inside story about how gold medalist weightlifter Matthias Steiner was able to meet his hero, the Austrian Oak, at the IronMind® Invitational - a weightlifting exhibition featuring the 2008 German men’s Olympic team - held at the Arnold Sports Festival.

For full details, get a copy of the August issue of Iron Man at your favorite newsstand and check Iron Man magazine's website for full details online.


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

An evening Highland Games, putting a 101-lb. stone, and some top competitors - that’s part of the story on the Kenmore Highland Games, won by Bruce Robb.  Francis Brebner filed the following report for IronMind®.


2009 Kenmore Highland Games

Reported by Francis Brebner

The Kenmore Highland Games in Scotland attracted more than 2,500 locals and tourists to their event on 1 July.  These Games are traditionally held in the evening during the work week, which allows the locals to attend after they have finished their work.  The open heavy events begin around 6:30 p.m. and usually finish around 10:30 p.m.
 The top heavies included Bruce Robb, Craig Sinclair, and the young up-and-coming Sinclair Patience, who is fast making a name for himself in the sport, following in the footsteps of his father, George Patience, former world champion and one of Scotland’s top all-round athletes in the Highland Games.
 The opening event with the 16-lb. shot saw Bruce Robb take the win with a distance of 49’ 6”; in second was Sinclair Patience at 47’ 1” and in third was Craig Sinclair at 45’ 11”.
 The next event was the Stone of Tirine, which weighs 101 lb. and is thrown or putted from the shoulder.  Here, a run-up is allowed, unlike at some other Games where a put is allowed only from a standing position.  Bruce Robb dominated the event with a winning distance of 15’ 10”; in second place once again was the young Sinclair Patience with a very fine throw of 13’ 2”, and in third was Pete Hart at 12’ 6”.
 In the 28-lb. weight for distance, Craig Sinclair, who has been dominating this event since the beginning of the season, had a tussle with Robb for the very close win at 76” 10”, with Robb right on his heels at 76’ and Patience in third spot at 68’ 11”.
 In the light (16-lb.) hammer, Craig Sinclair won with a very good throw of 135’ 11”, nearly 10’ farther than his nearest opponent Robb, who claimed second place with 126’ 4”.  Patience was just behind him at 124’ 5”.
 The heavy weight for distance, about 50 lb., was won by Robb with a throw of 49’ 1”; in second was Craig Sinclair at 43’ 4”, and in third Sinclair Patience at 42’ 10”.
 A massive caber that weighed a colossal 200 lb. and was 18’ in length was next brought out.  As there were no turns with the caber, it was judged on degrees, with Robb having the best performance with 90 degrees.  In second equal were Craig Sinclair and Sinclair Patience with 85 degrees, and in fourth place was Stuart Anderson with 70 degrees.

Bruce Robb produced a winning height of 15’ in the 56-lb. weight over the bar, with Craig Sinclair and Sinclair Patience again tying for second, at 14’ 6”, and Stuart Anderson holding fourth place with 14’.
 The final event of the evening was the 20-lb. sheaf toss, which was very large lengthwise.  It was won by Robb at a height of 21’; in second place was Stuart Anderson at 20’ and in third, Pete Hart at 19’.
 The next event on the Scottish circuit will be the Cupar Highland Games on 5 July.

1. Bruce Robb
2. Craig Sinclair
3. Sinclair Patience


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

The young Austrian strongman Martin Wildauer added to his laurels as he won the Austrian Summer Giant contest, making him “the Strongest Man of Austria,” his coach Heinz Ollesch told IronMind® today.

Martin Wildauer continues to impress, winning the Austrian Summer Giant 2009 strongman contest.  IronMind® | Photo courtesy of Heinz Ollesch.
Martin Wildauer continues to impress, winning the Austrian Summer Giant 2009 strongman contest.  IronMind® | Photo courtesy of Heinz Ollesch.


“He was from the beginning the favorite and was controlling the whole field,” said Ollesch, as Wildauer continues to impress strongman experts with his potential.
 
Here are the final standings and points:

1. Martin Wildauer 77.5
2. Gerhard Trawöger 68.5
3. Michael Votter 59.5
4. Gerald Gschiel 56
5. Oliver Gratzer 54.5
6. Lars Hermann 41.5
7. Erwin Geisler 39
8. Andreas Pürzel 31.5
9. Wolfgang Hell 20
 
“Now he is taking a little break to recover from the hard contests the past months.  Beginning of August he got already the invitation to the [Strongman] Champions League - Spain,” Ollesch said.


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

He calls it “Hammer Time,” and in his latest Grip Tip, John Brookfield introduces an exercise that will allow you to reap new benefits from your trusty gripper.

Leave it to John Brookfield to come up with yet another way to use a gripper to develop greater grip strength.  IronMind®
Leave it to John Brookfield to come up with yet another way to use a gripper to develop greater grip strength.  IronMind®


Want usable, real-world grip strength?  Then be sure to read John Brookfield’s latest Grip Tip and make this movement part of your training routine. 

Go to the Training Articles button at the top of the IronMind® homepage and select John Brookfield’s Grip Tip or go directly to the Grip Tips index page.


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

Shortly before coming to the Arnold earlier this year, Olympic gold medalist Matthias Steiner had to undergo hernia surgery, which led to a three-month break, head German weightlifting coach Frank Mantek told IronMind®.

He had just rammed this third attempt 258-kg clean and jerk overhead - Matthias Steiner was mere moments from getting three white lights and an Olympic gold medal for his efforts.  IronMind® | Randall J. Strossen photo.
He had just rammed this third attempt 258-kg clean and jerk overhead - Matthias Steiner was mere moments from getting three white lights and an Olympic gold medal for his efforts.  IronMind® | Randall J. Strossen photo.


Saying he was “very contented” with the initial phase of Matthias Steiner’s post-surgery training, Mantek added, “I think that I can bring him up to the World Championships in good form.  If everything runs according to plan, he should be able to fight in Goyang for a medal,” referring to the World Weightlifting Championships in Goyang City, Korea later this year.

“The training with Matthias runs very much according to plan.  He is motivated very much with the thing and has planned for the future a lot.”


by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. | ©2014 IronMind

The 2009 Arnold strongman contest will be broadcast on Eurosport this coming Friday at 8:00 p.m. European time, Marcel Mostert told IronMind®.

2009 Arnold strongman winner Derek Poundstone tackles the final stone at Fortissimus 2009.  IronMind® | Randall J. Strossen photo.
2009 Arnold strongman winner Derek Poundstone tackles the final stone at Fortissimus 2009.  IronMind® | Randall J. Strossen photo.


“I find it very important that a show like Arnolds is broadacast,” said Mostert.  “It is one of the big strength shows, and it shows what our sport is capable of.  So, therefore I bring it on Eurosport, because I think about the future of our sport . . . in small steps going to a higher platform.”

Mostert has become a key player in achieving this goal, as he puts his many years in strongman to good use both on the field and off.

This past weekend, Marcel Mostert and Ilkka Kinnunen, the co-founders of Strongman Champions League, put their decades of strongman experience to work as they refereed Fortissimus - where their contributions helped keep things running smoothly at what has become a top-tier strongman contest.  With Mostert and Kinnunen helping to define and enforce the rules, events ran smoothly and the sort of disputed calls that could cloud an event were notably absent.

It’s this sort of intimate familiarity with strongman that gives Mostert the insider’s eye that helps him package these events for TV, and later this year Mostert will be doing for Fortissimus what he did for the Arnold strongman contest . . . getting it broadcast on Eurosport. 

Stay tuned for more details.


 


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