Odd Haugen gives hope to all those older strongmen, that you can still compete into your 50’s and do extremely well.
He is a legend and one person that I especially look up to, as do many other rising and established top strongmen.
Here is Odd..
Phil Burgess: You have stated “We have several American Pro’s with the potential of winning WSM in the relative near future if they stay ‘clean’ and take their time to develop naturally”……
Do you think this US dominance is a good thing for the sport of strongman worldwide?
Odd Haugen: Yes, I think that the US dominance will continue much to the credit of NAS/ASC broad based qualifying system courtesy of Dione and Willie Wessels.
If the sport grows in the USA, the sport will grow world-wide.
Phil Burgess: If you were given a Magic Strongman Wand what three wishes would you make for the sport of strongman, to improve it?
- US TV exposure; which will lead to:
- Bigger and better sponsors;
- More money for the athletes
Phil Burgess: Do you think in 5 years time there will be more or less Strongman Federations, and do you feel that more is better for the sport?
Odd Haugen: I think the “Federations” are inconsequential in strongman as long as we are not organized as an international sport (IOC, WADA etc.).
The more people to promote the sport, the more opportunities for athletes to compete, resulting in better recruitment, and in all ways better for the sport.
Phil Burgess: What is your most cherished competition win?
Odd Haugen: Winning the 1999 AFSA USA Strongman Championship (Strongest Man in America) was great , but the most cherished moment was winning the very heavy Truck Pull in the 2006 WSM Super Series Moscow Grand Prix, beating among others Mariusz Pudzanowski at the peak of his career.
Phil Burgess: I heard that Dan Harrison spent a lot of time training with you, and has great respect for you. What expectations do you have for Dan in the world of strongman?
Odd Haugen: Dan is “floating” between Powerlifting and Strongman sports, and will probably have to specialize to hit the top echelon of either sport.
Dan is an very talented strongman and his power lifting to date has enhanced his strongman performances, but he’ll have to specialize to compete at the top.
Phil Burgess: Dan spoke about your “Aladdins Cave of Strongman Equipment” Can you tell us about 3 pieces of strongman equipment which most people would not be familiar with, which you have?
Odd Haugen: I don’t know if there’s anything unusual in what we call Valhalla Westgate (AKA my garage, that has not seen motor vehicle since we moved in nearly 10 years ago)?
I have the usual thousands of pounds of weights, dozen or more stones, multiple logs, axles, bars, lifting platform, full height power rack, Viking Press, Car/leverage deadlift, couple of truck tires, shields, reverse hyper, etc…
Phil Burgess: You stopped competing at the age of 53?
Odd Haugen: No, I have not stopped competing, but for the last couple of years, I have been unable to train and compete at a high level due to an old neck injury.
My last World’s Strongest Man competition was in China in 2006 at the age of 56, and just a few months ago (August 2011) I placed 3rd in the Masters World’s Strongest Man in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Phil Burgess: Do you think it will ever be possible for a 50 year old to win world’s strongest man, or is there too much going against a competitor at that age?
Odd Haugen: I think it is possible but unlikely that anybody 50+ will win the World’s Strongest Man. The reason is not age or aging, but rather motivation.
Most of my competitive career in strongman has been while in my 50’s, and I have battled the best, and on some occasions beaten the very best. All this while juggling family life and busy career as an executive.
I train and compete because I love it, but at the end of the day it has been and will continue to be a hobby, although a very important part of my life.
“My last World’s Strongest Man competition was in China in 2006 at the age of 56”
Phil Burgess: Do you prefer watching Dynamic events or Static events in a Strongman competition?
Odd Haugen: Both belong in Strongman, and I have no preference…
However, I’d like to see more combative events such as pole push, tug-o-war, Cumberland Wrestling etc. find its way back into the competitions.
I do NOT like the relative lack of grip strength required in many strongman competitions today.
Grip strength is the one thing that requires hard work (and good genetics), and in my opinion is NOT affected positively by drug use/abuse.
Phil Burgess: Which competitor is?
Johnny Perry (RIP); Johnny would have all of us in stitches as he was telling us about his escapades!
Brian Schoonveld undoubtedly.
The most helpful to your career?
Magnus Ver Magnusson as he has always been supportive whether he’s officiating or competing.
The most annoying?
I try not to let anyone annoy me. (Editors note: very diplomatic!)
Phil Burgess: What’s the funniest thing you have seen at a strongman competition?
Odd Haugen: Johnny Perry and Brian Schoonveld (representing USA in the Team Olympics in Hungary where all events were performed in pairs) were asked by TV reporter who (in other words what team?) they considered the toughest competition….Both (team mates) without missing a beat, and pointing to each other, “I just want to beat him! “
Phil Burgess: Now that you are not competing, how are you involved in the sport of strongman?
Odd Haugen: I have been promoting strongman contest since 1998, and plan to continue doing that…..Have a TV project related to strongman in the works.