|Helsinki GP 1999
Report 7-9.3 by Sami
According to our newspapers, next on GP tour will be England, 3rd day of May?
Svend and Gary, just direct your
energy to that competition, and do not repeat your previous mistakes. Remember:
It's betta to have a bad start and a
|Magnus, from your look in this picture I can see
that it's time to start serious training again! You've spent three months
just doing sponsor shows - don't forget that both Jouko and this other
Magnus lost their title partly just because they were too busy to train.
Bury your trophies somewhere you don't even get to see them and put this pic on your fridge door.
The other Magnus once said: If you win WSM once, that's nice, but if you win it twice, people will remember you forever!
Jouko told me you have just done a 260kg bench press. Well done. Now
start training overhead press, Jouko hasn't benched in months!
In picture below also the sisters Graaf
9m diameter, 260kg
120kg on hands, was 140kg originally (total weight 400kg)
|Jouko Ahola (Finland)
28, 185cm, 123kg (weight accurate)
|1st 38.92s||1st 830deg||3rd 14 reps|
|Laszlo Fekete (Hungary)
40, 187cm, 140kg
|10th 47.37s||7th 240 deg||12th 0 reps (back prob?)|
|Sami Heinonen (Finland)
26, 196cm, 135kg
|2nd 40.92s||3rd 530deg||2nd 15 reps|
|Svend Karlsen (Norway)
32, 188cm, 145kg
|8th 42.97s||SLIPPED AND||INJURED HIMSELF OR EXHAUSTION OR?|
|Gary Mitchell (USA)
34, 190cm, 136kg
|14th DNF||TOTAL||EXHAUSTION AND WHAT ELSE?|
|Heinz Ollesch (Germany)
32, 190cm, 150kg
|11th 49.22s||8th 230deg||7th 10 reps|
|Phil Pfister (USA)
27, 201cm, 140kg
|4th 41.14s||12th 1 deg barely got it up||1st 16 reps|
|Wayne Price (R of South Africa) 31, 190cm, 145kg||9th 45.09s||9th 165deg||9th 8 reps|
|Glenn Ross (Ireland)
|13th 90,13s||10th 55deg||8th 9 reps (approved of 14)|
|Magnus Samuelsson (Sweden)
29, 201cm, 140kg
|3rd 41.11s||6th 365deg||5th 11 reps|
|Juha Tuhkasaari (Finland)
22, 178cm, 115kg
|5th 41.36s||2nd 740deg||4th 12 reps|
|Matti Uppa (Finland)
30, 190cm, 130kg
|6th 42.52s||5th 370deg||10th 2 reps (shoulder)|
|Janne Virtanen (Finland)
28, 200cm, 135kg
|7th 42.55s||4th 494deg||5th 11 reps|
|Wout Zijlstra (The Netherlands)
34, 202cm, 137kg
|12th 50.0s||11th 25deg||11th 1 rep (shoulder?)|
|Tony Halme (Finland)||"13 reps" (was lighter) and a good show|
(300kg on hands)
|Jouko Ahola (Finland)||2nd 21.25||1st 44.59s||5th 17.72s (dropped once)||1st 77p|
|Laszlo Fekete (Hungary)||1st 21.13s||5th 31.87s||4th 16.85s||7th 51p|
|Sami Heinonen (Finland)||3rd 23.25s||8th 26.11s||3rd 13.37s||2nd 70p|
|Svend Karlsen (Norway)||-||-||-||13th 24p|
|Gary Mitchell (USA)||-||-||-||14th 18p|
|Heinz Ollesch (Germany)||8th 4 stones||9th 22.67s||didn't get it up||8th 37p|
|Phil Pfister (USA)||7th 64.08s||6th 28.01s||7th 24.84s||6th 52p|
|Wayne Price (R of South Africa)||10th 3 stones||10th 17.86s||6th 24.09s||9th 36p|
|Glenn Ross (Ireland)||9th 4 stones in 42s||7th 26.54s||8th 39.33s||11th 34p|
|Magnus Samuelsson (Sweden)||5th 30.86s||4th 32.01s||1st 13.26s||4th 64p|
|Juha Tuhkasaari (Finland)||6th 52.44s||3rd 33.04s||21.66s||4th 64p|
|Matti Uppa (Finland)||-||-||-||9th 36p|
|Janne Virtanen (Finland)||4th 23.38s||2nd 35.73s (2 warnings)||1st 13.26s||3rd 67p|
|Wout Zijlstra (The Netherlands)||10th 3 stones||SHOULDER OR||PEC PROB?||12th 25p|
|This is how the whole competition started: Svend
He won the same event last year, and people kept telling me this time Svend will challenge Jouko also in the total competition points. But something was/went wrong. Svend started out faster than anyone, maybe even too fast. It slowed down heavily with the last sack, but nobody was different really. He slipped (legs numb) when he was running back to the finish line, but got up after just two seconds or so and came over the line (actually hit a trigger button). Was unfortunate, but what was the problem? Later we heard he is out, but nothing more. Must have injured his hand or thigh we figured.
I phoned Svend yesterday, but we had a very noisy connection and all I could hear was "I'm ok". And I got that he doesn't want to talk yet. Then I hung up because of the noise, thought he'll call back later when he feels like it. Jouko had earlier told me, that Svend wasn't at all happy with his performance and his feeling wasn't too great.
Lactic acid must have been at least one part of the decision to drop out. It can take even 20 minutes to recover (move a little and it's faster then, and remember to sip water to stop vomiting), but from my own experience I'd say it doesn't affect performance as heavily afterwards as one might think. At least when the weight used are relatively small, and you don't take it to a complete breakdown like Gary Mitchell did??
If it was the fall Svend - try a jiu-jitsu basic
course! If it was the leg - stretch more often and train something where
legs get to move faster, that would help in avoiding injuries. If it was
a flu or like that, get better soon. If it was exhaustion and disappointment,
you should've maybe just continued.
Loading was the only event in this competition, which actually required some endurance. Well, Viking Press maybe also, but they intended it to be heavier originally (Pfister did 16 reps). More of that later.
Yes, loading was the only "killer event". But it was known beforehand I'd have to say. Just that usually in loading there are less and heavier objects (is five much?). Anyway for the next year I might recommend 3x130kg sacks, that would be easier for some.
Actually it's not just endurance loading is about: Loading is about speed! Like many of you readers might be able to load 5x100kg if you WALK. Then the acid won't hit you as bad. Running with these sacks is equivalent to a 20 rep FAST squat (say with 140kg), no rest between reps. And like Jouko says, it takes getting used to. Then again, it's just 30-40 seconds. Should a strongman be able to do that? I'd say yes, but probably they will change this event a bit for next year. Still, loading in some form has always been in strongman competitions and guys should be well prepared for it.
Point being, try it too fast and game over. Glenn Ross had really "no problem" when he started to walk after feeling a problem in his muscles. Well, he finished the last but one...
The other secret in loading is getting used to walk with weights, carrying stuff around. It really seems to be a problem for some, and they waste too much energy for nothing. The powerlifts and "strict form" exercises don't prepare for carrying anything, or even walking with weights. Farmer's walk, that's a good beginning, but sacks and Husafel Stone, there's something even different!
Jouko once said in a magazine that big legs take off speed. I don't really agree - remember Ben Johnson? More likely it's about what and how you train - big muscles take off endurance of course, but more or less it's just about training the event. Like if you load these sacks even ten times at gym, you pretty much know what to expect and how to do it. And muscles will adapt to those "20 rep fast squats" in no time. Athletic build would be an advantage of course in this event (and in some others also).
I did one 20 set today, and nearly vomited still 15 minutes later, when I thought I was ok already. I'm pretty sure that warming up to this kind of stunts helps, because then the pulse won't shoot sky-high instantly. Might try fast walking before loading, and slow afterwards (active recovery)...
(Remember I'm not a serious strongman myself and
can't really give much advice. I welcome all comments about training)
How did Jouko feel about it:
The commentator asked Jouko at the stage, if the first event was too tough. Jouko said every event in WSM is tough, and there's no point coming to a competition to cry about it.
This was for a FINNISH audience then! Later on phone he felt bad for Gary, and wondered what happened to Svend. Jouko had himself gotten Gary invited to Helsinki... and expected he would be prepared for all events.
Jouko was also very disappointed with his own performance, because he slowed down about as bad as the others. That must be fixed before England GP, he said. Jouko hasn't trained enough with sacks, just barrels (no lift at start really), but he just started (has bought some good sacks only recently?) So it was far from easy for him also. But "because the pause before the next event was so long, I recovered fully".
He must have made a miscalculation trying to do it as fast as he has used to with barrels. Also no warming up, because he used to warm up with this event...
Svend would have probably won the next event, Viking Press, and finished 2nd in Conan. And if Gary would have just stopped earlier with the last sack (was impossible because the audience tried to "help" him and he had set his mind in it), who knows what he might have done later.
|Life goes on and so did the competition. Just that some Swedish guys,
who weighed 50kg less than what they should've to get on the stage, tried
to kill the atmosphere with their singing after the first event. Pretty
much succeeded also, the crowd liked Svend's singing better last year and
would have wanted just to see more of the competitors and hear some interviews
Jarkko Hyvärinen, who was in our group of four, reported:
|The Conan's Wheel of Fortune was next. Jouko got
to the bandit sector? Didn't see much of this because the arena was divided
into too many parts and some of the equipment laid in the far corners.
The sponsors wanted their name visible all the time so... couldn't help
it. Of course I was able to follow what happened, and see close-ups from
I'm not sure which part of the Finns' success in this event was being
able to try the equipment before, but I think any Conan's Wheel would do
if you have one at home... Jouko has said the secret about it is front
squat. Pfister, who otherwise did fine in the competition, made even a
worse first try than I did a month ago. Surprisingly he had trouble lifting
it up. Well, Phil will do fine in later competitions, this guy is athletic,
strong and didn't mind even loading at all. He even won the next event,
Glenn Ross I feel sorry about: He did like 14 reps, was the first to try the event, and 5 of them were discarded because he didn't lockout or started the presses too high (would have helped a lot if he had seen somebody else do it first). Glenn is obviously a terrific overhead presser.
Here's Tony, over both 190cm and 140kg I'd say. A very big and strong showman/boxer/speaker of a TV program/ex wrestler/ex bodybuilder/ex UFC-competitor/gladiator, who has trained all his life. At least he has a larger mouth than Ahola, and still a bigger name also? Jokke and Tony advertised the competition with the challenge for weeks. Tony said when all events counted, Ahola is stronger for sure, but he wishes to prove a boxer can be strong also, and this is a good event for him. He intends to stick to boxing and this was "mostly just for motivation in training". The bet was 2000$. Even I started to ponder if Tony could have the strength to win. Not likely, but how close it will be?
Very close, 14 to 13 for Jouko. Except for one thing, they had taken off 2x15kg hidden weights during the half time (I'd estimate the weight on hands was then around 105. I didn't see the trick for I sat so far and spent the half-time chatting with people). The competitors did their performance before the break, Tony just after. It was a better show this way. When Tony had tried it a couple of days before, it didn't go that good so... I could use more colorful language here, but hey I'm not one of those who hate Tony. Things people hate about him are mostly part of his show, and he has started to cool down already.. at 36 years old or close to that.
The only bad thing about this trick was that he made some of the other competitors look bad. Very few got 13 or more. Actually Tony did even 16, because he told he had no time limit and went to do 3 more a while later...
Jouko was slightly offended or at least surprised when I didn't get this stunt right away. Ok, take a look at the pic above and tell me Tony can't be quite convincing.
|Back to the reality then, every guy in Finland can't be a world class
Or... then again, how's this, four places in top five in this GP? It's a fact however, that the Finns benefited from knowing two events beforehand, the Conan's Wheel and the Viking Press. There won't be that kind of advantage in the following competitions, although the same events will be very likely used later this year, just with a different set of equipment.
Sami Heinonen and Janne Virtanen are world class strongmen yes, but not at the very top yet. It was not their fault they placed this high here, but maybe it's not the whole truth. There are still others as good, even better. For how long, that's another question of course. Virtanen was a wrestler, and he must still train max strength. Heinonen benched 250 already in junior classes and next weekend he'll try to deadlift 365kg in a competition, so he might have potential if the event training goes well. Just that lately I have realized even max strength can't be measured with the powerlifts really. Take M. Samuelsson for example, he really HAS a great max one-rep strength in many events, even though he is not at his best in squat or deadlift.
And for Finns doing this great, it was bad for the sport. Also that didn't make me as happy as you might think, as I don't clap to competitors according to what country they happen to live in. Even if a guy from States has a sound attitude towards this sport, I might.. hmm. :-)
|The Round Stones, or whatever you happen to call
these, haha. There are at least ten names I could think of. Made from a
heart of iron, concrete skin, two halves glued and bolted together... Like
most of the competitors?
FEKETE WON! This wasn't a HUGE surprise really, as he did very well in both the team competition and WSM last year, and has competed when Jouko was still just... lifting 2kg dumbbells? This was really something, and Laszlo got loud well-deserved applauses.
Jouko kept telling me about that bad performance, haha don't start to explain now. When interviewed for cameras he was naturally still very happy with his performances.
Take a look at the figure next to Jouko - 173kg!! Also Phil Pfister lifted that up, well done! The next pic is about these two again in the next event,
Judging seemed to be difficult this time. Basicly they strived to very clean performances, and Jamie Reeves kept his line all the way. Just that Veneberg (on the other side, can't be seen in the pic) accepted slightly bent arms.
I think the rules should be even more strict (arms completely straight, no leaning back, a certain level where the weights must be held, and when they drop say 5 cm from that mark, it's over), because now some competitors didn't really even know what was going on. Or tried to cheat a little.
Wheelbarrow I didn't get good photos of and there wasn't much going on any more really, just that Virtanen kept his 3rd place although Magnus Samuelsson went very fast in this one. Jouko, when he did it with Sami Heinonen (the two last competitors, Jouko had already won - 10p lead), was probably feeling quite relaxed already until Sami started to build up a competition between them. So Jouko ended up trying to do it even too fast, so dropping it once and that's one too often in this event. But I don't think he did mind too much, for the trophy already seemed to be much easier to hold up.
|Misc comments and later additions
Somebody asked if Glenn Ross had eaten one of the smaller stones...
The guy next to me said that it will take five years, but then all the competitors will be prepared for any strongman event.
Info about doping tests: Sponsors require it, also in Morocco there was a test after each event. If somebody gets caught, he's out of the competition and loses all prize money. It won't be announced however, but you can follow who's missing from a competition. I don't know the actual policy exactly...
Grip strength comes with genetics, either you have it or you don't - My friend claimed Jouko had said this in a interview, don't know for sure
However in an interview I heard, Jouko said like: "This may be a strong statement, but I think I train harder than anyone else in the sport. Saturdays/Sundays the whole competition through, 5-6 hours, plus 3 hours workdays, together 5 times a week."
Jouko told me he doesn't know right now if Ed Coan and him are going to deadlift against each other, and when.
Other interview, about strongman events being very dangerous: Jouko thinks they certainly are not, if you train well and use some common sense. Usually the weights aren't at the extreme limits.
I wrote: "four places in top five in this GP goes to Finns, that's not good for the sport."
Gary Mitchell commented: "If the top ten in the world are Finns, that's
great! Keep up the good work. If the top ten in the world are from all
different nations, that's great too. We shouldn't let politics enter into
our great sport. Remember this sport is about who is the strongest and
is not about nationality or even personality. Displaying who is the strongest
is what is best for the sport."
Jarkko:Ed Coan was in Arnold's bench press competition (source Goheavy.com).
Svend's and Gary's pulses were dangerously high after Loading so the doctor at the place thought it might not be wise to continue.
Samuelsson used knee wraps, Pfister wore two belts in Viking Press. Virtanen tried to nearly jerk it up.
TV commentator asked (in Finnish) what did go trough Jouko's mind during the Crucifix: He answered 'I don't know if there generally goes anything if one practices this kind of sport!'