World's strongest man


May 23, 2003, midnight | By Kent Anderson | 21 years ago

Beyond the mainstream


Viewing sports is a complicated business. The game you want to watch is hardly ever on and some sorry substitute, like figure skating or bass fishing, always is. There is only one place for this world of dejected sports fan to look when they cannot fulfill their slam-dunk-addiction or home-run-fascination. ESPN 2.

Home to the misfits of sports, ESPN 2 has just what the typical fan needs to spice up his life and augment his knowledge of all things athletic.

The standard fair for an ESPN 2 evening line-up includes small market teams, small time sports and even smaller ratings, and it often watches like a blooper reel. However, amidst this wasteland of misplayed groundballs, bricked jump shots and dropped passes, there are some incredibly unique sports and some even more unique athletes. Hands down the most distinctive of the distinct is the World's Strongest Man Competition.

Imagine an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie. Extract him from that movie, mid-action sequence and place him in front of a truck, pulling it. Do that ten more times and you basically have what the World's Strongest Man Competition is: a bunch of really big, really buff guys who have names that contain hardly any vowels . . . pulling trucks.

Well, they don't always pull trucks, they sometimes lift logs, throw stones and walk around with 245 lb suitcases. Still the concept is the same, for contestants to prove their infinite masculinity by lifting buildings out of the ground and holding the world on their shoulders.

For those of you have never seen the competition it goes something like this. Around 10 men compete in three events, each testing strength in a different and often funny way. The competitors with the highest scores move on to the next round and compete in three more events. The winner is the player with the most accumulated points throughout the whole competition, and is crowned the World's Strongest Man.

What could be better than this, essentially an action movie with out all the pointless and dull dialogue? You still have to deal with the red faces and the grunting, but the fierce, nail biting competition more than makes up for it.

On top of this, you get to see some of the, well for a lack of better way to describe them, strongest men in the world. The contestants are all muscular, in that scary, bouncer/bull/three people-put-together sort of way. Each makes the biggest player in any "real" sport look like a girl at her sixth birthday party. At a recent competition, the "lightest" competitor weighed in at a feathery 275 pounds.

Sports fans should be relieved that they can watch the best athletes in the world pour their heart and soul out, regardless of the form in which they do it. They should be even more relieved to escape the tedium of modern sports broadcasting that is bass fishing, billiards and bowling. Plus, if they tune in, they might get to see Badenhurst make Hoeberl look puny by pulling a 16 wheeler a full centimeter farther.



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