Interview with Geoff Capes – Former World’s Strongest Man (1980’s)

Geoff Capes and Jon Pall
Geoff Capes and Jon Pall

Geoff Capes may not have been the strongest man ever to have competed in a Worlds Strongest Man competition, but as a child growing up he was an idol, who I was fortunate enough to meet one day as a 10 year old when he visited our school.

Once a year my dad and myself would sit down and watch the Worlds Strongest Man competition on TV, cheering for Geoff Capes.  So when the opportunity arose 25 years later to interview I leapt at the chance, and here it is.

Geoff Capes and Jon Pall
Geoff Capes and Jon Pall

Prior to competing in the Worlds Strongest Man competition, you had been involved in the Shot Putt winning two Commonwealth Games Gold Medals for Great Britain, so how did the move to compete in the worlds strongest man competition come about?

Geoff Capes: I retired from the shot put so to speak as I felt that continuous outside pressures with my role as a police officer and being an Amateur at the time was too much.

I lost my job at the time because the goverment with Mrs Thatcher at the helm banned all service men from going to Moscow Olympics.

But I supported the vote to go thus I had to resign. So I was compelled to turn Pro and went into Highland Games and the world of strong man.

You won the Worlds Strongest Man competition in 1983 and 1985, which win gave you the most satisfaction and why?

Geoff Capes: I am the first to say that I am not the worlds strongest man.  I won a televised event called the worlds strongest man and I was the best at the time that I competed and whom I competed against.  All in all I enjoyed every moment of all my competitons which I found fun and gained many friends from it.

Click to watch the Video !! Geoff Capes competing in Worlds Strongest Man
Click to watch the Video !! Geoff Capes competing in Worlds Strongest Man

When you were the Worlds Strongest Man could you give us an indication of what amounts of weights you were lifting in the gym, i.e for the Squat , Deadlift, Bench Press.

Geoff Capes: The best lifts were Squat 840lbs, Bench Press 300kg, Deadlift 18ins 1000lb but as I was an athlete/strong man I did many shot training disciplines in the weight room that helped me to compete against stronger opponents.

You competed against the late enigmatic Jon Pall Sigmarsson, are there any funny stories which you can say about him, and how was your relationship with him?

Geoff Capes: Jon Paul was a great athlete all round but not a great thrower.  I would beat him in a mixed event ie Highland games events and strong man events and there were many a story best kept untold, but we had many words whilst competing against each other.


If you were marooned on a Desert Island and could have just one other person with you who you competed with in Worlds Strongest Man, who would it be and why?

Geoff Capes:  If I was on a desert island and who I wanted with me from the worlds strongest man, it would be Bill Kaz (Kazmaier). He is a nasty sod but can be funny, and no-one would screw us around. He’s stronger and I am faster, enough said.

When in Strongman Training could you give us an outline of your training routine, at a high level? How much was event based technique training or cardio or weights?

Geoff Capes: Most of my training would be from my athletic background working on all parts evenly with the 5 “S” principles  Strength, Stamina, Suppleness, Speed , and Skill.
I really did not train for strongman as they seem to do today, mainly because I had to throw as well during the seasons and also travel around the world.

What did you find the hardest strongman event to do when you were competing and why?

Geoff Capes: The hardest event for me was always the crucifix as I had long arms and injuries to my shoulders through throwing.  I virtually gave away 8 points before I started and really only scored in 7 out of the 8 strongman events.

Did you take supplements when you were training in the 80’s, and if so what were they?  How has this changed today with your athletes which you now coach?

Geoff Capes: I really only took simple Proteins a good diet and lots of it. Today it’s far too complicated and too many restrictions and not balanced to what is allowed, and what is acceptable arround the world, so I am not really qualified to comment.

geoff capes former worlds strongest man
Geoff Capes today

You are now involved in training athletes for the Commonwealth games, what are their names and how are they developing? Why did you become involved?

Geoff Capes: I have  a good squad of athletes of all ages that I coach and they all have exceptional talent. I feel that many of them will be big names in the future.

I went back to coaching the shot because I feel that the event here in the UK is in a terrible state and has not competed on the world stage for a while.

However one of the reasons is professionalism in other sports like Rugby, this is where the big men go that may have picked up the shot or Hammer etc , but they can earn £100.000 plus, so why putt the shot for nothing? no contest.

With respect to supplements again it is not a level playing field across the world, and my message is keep it legal or make sure that the supplements that you take are properly tested to make sure that there are no contaminants.

If there was one tip that you would give a youngster today who wanted to be the Worlds Strongest Man when they are older what would it be?

Geoff Capes: A tip for the younger ones in the strongman arena is to look at the techniques of the best of their day and train hard across the body, do not just get strong to be a strongman athlete.

Thanks Geoff that’s been great.

Geoff Capes: No problem Phil