So here we are its March 8th, 2014, and I’m in Dreamland. Well actually its 2014 Giants Live in Melbourne, but as they say at the moment I’m “living the Dream.” To help officiate this event is like being David Attenborough watching the animals close up in their natural environment. Now I’m not calling these guys Animals, far from it, and I dare not.
So who were they:
- Joel McLeod (Australia)
- Sam Pennell (New Zealand)
- Jeremy Hogg (New Zealand)
- Eben Le Roux (Australia)
- Warrick Brant (Australia)
- Frankie Scheun (South Africa)
- Gerhard Van Staden (South Africa)
- Marc Van Der Haer (South Africa)
- Rob Frampton (England)
- Thor Bjornsson (Iceland)
- Benedikt Magnusson (Iceland)
Today on Day One there were three events. These were the:
- Farmers Walk
- Texas Bar Deadlift
- Car Walk.
The Farmers Walk with 145kg in each hand was fast with many competitors covering the 45m in the mid twenty second range. Im not going to say who won, as to be honest I cant remember, but it was good to watch.
The Deadlift event with a Texas Power Bar was next and whilst it was brilliant to see Bennedikt Magnusson lift 445kg, for me it was also seeing two Australians Eben Le Roux and Warrick Brant, and South African Frankie Scheun lift 400kg which made my day. (Well another one of the many highlights).
The Car Walk was impressive, most of the competitors managed to carry the 410kg Car the full 25m distance. This event is not like lifting a yoke, as it moves around alot. Ben Simpson who won Australia’s Strongest Man the day before, described it as putting more stress on the quads than it did on the back. Thor just strode with the car on his shoulders, but the rhythmic stepping of Rob Frampton took the win in that event.
However sometimes the highlights aren’t the most weight lifted but how an athlete overcomes problems during an event. In the Car Walk Eben Le Roux, went to lift the car on the whistle, but strangely to everyone watching it didn’t move, he couldn’t lift it. Two seconds later he managed to get it upwards, but it looked like he would only make a few metres, but amazingly he hung in there until he went through over the finish line. Not the fastest time, but he showed the heart and determination only true athletes have.
So the results at the end of Day One, well I cant tell you exactly apart from Thor is 5 points ahead, and then there are about 5 athletes within 2 points of each other so Day Two is going to be an interesting day…
Ok so that was Day One at the venue, but then what.
I was lucky enough (the suspension may not have agreed) to take the two Icelanders back to hotel in my car. After a 5 minute conversation in Icelandic where the only word I thought I understood was “Sex” . I decided to ask them some questions, this resulted in Benedikt telling me about the Manhood stones in Iceland and what they were for, and big thor who was sitting in the front passenger seat falling asleep and leaning over on me, as I drove. I now honestly believe that Benedikt works for the Icelandic Tourist Board and that Thor was tired of it all.
Ok the Manhood Stones story I learnt from Benedikt relates to Fishermen. When they bring the nets in they need to be able to lift the weight of the net and the fish. The more they could lift the more Fish they could get into the boat. So the Manhood stones were a way of the fisherman proving how strong they were. They would then be paid their wage based on the biggest manhood stone they could lift….. Well thats how I understood it from Benedikt…
Later on we went out to dinner with some of the strongmen, I was lucky to sit on a table with Benedikt, Aaron Scarborough, Eben Le Roux and his better half. I found out many things from Benedikt including that we both like Theakstons Old Peculiar Real Ale, and that he trained to be a captain of a ship, but not because he wanted to do it as a job, but rather that “he had always wanted to be a pirate!!”
To watch the two Icelandic giants eating Ice Cream for desert with tiny spoons was going to make a great photo, and Thor was more than happy to pose for it. I have to say that I feel sorry for Thor because everybody want to have their photo taken with him, and if I was him Id get a bit over it, but he always happily obliged to make someones day.
Well Day One over, roll on Day Two…
After overdosing on Strongman excitement on the first day, I arrived at the venue for the second day ,more intrigued with how the placings in the competition would go, rather than being just in awe of standing with the Giants.
The first event Log Press was eventful, a 140kg log for reps, in a set time. This event was won by Thor, who on his first rep held it above his head as if it was just an empty olympic bar. Hi Icelandic compatriot Benedikt Magnusson, provided some drama by falling over backwards when he had the log overhead. Fortunately he managed to throw it clear of his body as he crashed to the ground.
The second event was the 140kg Atlas Stone to shoulder. This had caused some concern amongst the competitors who discussed prior to the event whether it could be changed to loading it onto a platform. The only problem with a change like this is that it would likely favour the taller men and not the shorter men. The event went ahead to the shoulder as it had been meant to. However some competitors suffered bicep strains from this event, Sam Pennell, Rob Frampton and Benedikt Magnusson being those most affected. Benedikt said that he believed he had done the damage to his bicep because he was too slow moving the stone up onto his shoulder.
The final event was the loading Medley and Thor won this, being the only competitor to load all 5 objects in the 75 second time limit. Unfortunately for Benedikt, the loading event damaged his right bicep even more, and he was in some discomfort after the event having to use an extremely large T-shirt as a makeshift sling.
So as to the final results the winner was Hafthor Bjornsson on 63 points, and then trailing him were:
- 51 Warrick Brant (Won Southern Hemispheres Strongest Man)
- 50.5 Frankie Scheun
- 44 Gerhard van Staden
- 38 Eben Le Roux
- 37.5 Benedikt Magnusson
- 35.5 Rob Frampton
- 27 Jeremy Hogg (at 42 the oldest competitor)
- 25 Joel McLeod
- 12 Sam Pennell
- 7.5 Marc Van Der Haer
Australia was the winner of the tri nations competition between New Zealand, South Africa and themselves.
Then it was all over… and over the next 24 hours the athletes dispersed back to where they had come from, and Giants Melbourne was over for another year……