|Jouko Ahola, 26, Finland, Hämeenlinna|
|The contest was held outside
of Las Vegas in Primm, Nevada at the Primadonna Resort.
|QUALIFYING AS SEEN BY CHRIS (mail 7.10)
Hi Sami - Just got back home earlier today oh make that yesterday now (10/6) and all I can say is that I am kinda in shock. RIKU, MAGNUS, & GERRIT did not qualify for the final! Hard to believe isn't it? I did hear a rumor that they received byes to the final and just competed as pacers in the heats for the other guys, but I don't think so. They clearly did not perform that well.
I was not able to work up the nerve to go and talk to any of them. But a friend I met there introduced me to Joe Onosai, Paul Lepik, Michael Abdullah, and Bill Lyndon. Michael and Bill were so-o nice and quite fun too. I had a good time just hangin' with them waiting in between events. I love their accents and kept making Bill talk becuz wanted to hear it. Even got him to do the "HAKA," it is a New Zealand war dance that is usually performed by the Maori. As I said we were just hangin about and acting kinda crazy. I hope they both are there for the final even though they did not qualify for it, becuz I just love being around those two guys. I'm hoping that Riku, and Magnus and Gerrit will stay also so that I can try to work up the nerve to talk to them. I can't believe what a big chicken I turned out to be but I guess they are just a little intimidating.
I became very ill from the sun while there and actually was sick the entire length of my stay. I became dehydrated also - I didn't think that I would be that affected by the heat/sun but was. And I had a horrible sunburn - ouch. I'm over everything now except the sunburn. I'm definitely going to buy a lot of sunblock this next time for the finals.
I've heard that the 97wsm will air in january here but don't know about over there. They need to do a lot of editing because there was not many people attended the heats but should be more for the final. I should definitely show up in the crowd so you'll be able to see what I look like. I tried to avoid the camera when I saw that it was facing me only to turn my head and have another one directly on me - oh well so much for my brilliant plan.
Everyday the events started at least 1 hour late and the time between
events was even longer. Anyways here are the events and winners of the
events but I can not provide you with actual points becuz I was too busy
taking pix instead of writing the results down. Also I had to ask these
finnish dudes (trainers I think w/Ahola) who were the winners of the winch,yoke,cask
circle and hecules hold w/barrels so if some of the results are wrong its
|I've listed the site where the event took place as there
were different locations and also put the event winners name right after
event and listed the other competitors in brackets. There was one event
per heat each day so everyday the competitors only had one event.
OCT.2 Buffalo Bill's back parking lot:
note#2: Here's what I mean by me being a big chicken ----> Riku and his wife came and stood right next to me during the car walk and I still did not say anything to him. He is huge though, his hands were like way massive.
OCT.3 Buffalo Bill's front parking lot:
note#2: I did not get any pix of the herc hold because they were facing the other way and did not want any pix of Jouko's butt! besides by this time I was feeling very sick again from the sun which was raging by then. I thought for sure that Riku was going to win the dead lift but was really surprised to see Derek perform so well.
note#3: Onosai smashed Magnusson in this event (incline press) with a little help from some fans cheering him on - I wonder who? hehe I felt bad because I think my friend blew MVM 's concentration with all the cheering she did for Joe but there were so many people for magnus and the other scandinavian guys that I started cheering for guys that I normally would not have just to give them some support. Magnus made 16 reps and Joe did 21 or 24 I can't remember.
OCT.4 Desert behind Whiskey Pete's:
note#2: Bergmanis was so happy to make one of his lifts he jumped in the pool after wards - you had to be there I guess but it was pretty funny/cool. I was standing just a couple of feet away from Magnus, Gerrit, Heinz and Regin who were watching and they were just cracking up (laughing) it was really one of the better moments of the competition.
OCT.5 Desert behind Whiskey Pete's:
If you have any questions or don't understand anything just ask and i'll clarify it. I will be leaving early thursday morning 10/9 so ask before then or you'll have to wait till I get back from the finals. Oh yeah Bill said that they arent gonna let him post any results from the competition on his page till it airs on tv so if you post anything it could very well be the first update on this!
I just received your email while writing this one so i'll reply to that one separately. I know there is a lot more I could say but for the life of me my mind is running in circles from excitement and can't put anything else down in this email that would make any sense!
I just realized that I did not tell you who was going to be in the
from heat 1: Svend Karlsen (norway) Torfi Olafsson (iceland) Magnus knocked out from this heat
also to be in the final are the 2 Americans: Iron Bear Collins and Mark Phillipi.I will try to get the actual points from these guys I was chatting with - from finland - they helped me with getting all the winners of the events as I had not written them down so maybe they can get me all the results. I'll see what I can do.
I've been unable to correct the color on the pictures and I don't even understand why they came out so dark on the disk when the actual photos are fine. I don't have a scanner yet so I can send you some pictures if you want but they are kinda dark - the blues and reds are very blue and very red. I've sent that pic of Ahola for you to see what I mean. Flemming won that event though.
I found out that the BBC will air the contest in December (on xmas eve i believe) so that's when the strongman page will have the results posted.
|Sami it's true the winner and WORLD'S STRONGEST MAN FOR 1997 IS JOUKO AHOLA OF FINLAND! His performance was just amazing - he is amazing. He clearly dominated almost every event having won the very last two events of the finals: the deadlift at I think 950lbs./430kg? and the medley. It had come down to Flemming and Jouko and it was an explosive performance by both of them giving it their all. I'll be honest here i was rooting for Flemming and was sad when he didn't win but I knew even before this event that Jouko had it - he was totally psyched!!! and he had great support from Riku, Ilkka, and Markku plus his coach/trainer (sorry i never did talk with them again so didn't get there names). Finnish camera crew was there so you probably may already know the news. they interviewed him after the deadlift win as did Bill Kazmaier for ESPN2.|
Here is the list of the events for the final as they were changed:
Friday Oct.10 - day one Buffalo Bill's Back Parking Lot: Truck Pull - Flemming Rasmussen
Buffalo Bill's Front Parking Lot: Overhead Lift - 3 way tie: IronBear Collins/Jouko Ahola/Flemming Rasmussen
note: there was a little controversy when Rasmussen did his reps as he clearly could have done more, but what would have been his 13th rep was not allowed as referee said that he didn't lock out his arms I think. But I thought that it was a good lift and he should of won this event. And upon later discussion with Bill Henderson who videotaped it - it was a good lift as it showed on his tape. I did not actually view this tape but I know it's true and I just wanted confirmation from someone else. Bill said that he was going to show it to Flemming who apparently later in the day was at the pool right outside his hotel room while he viewed the tape but then decided against it because he did not want to make him angry. Actually the next day I think he did end up showing it to him and Flemming just kinda blew it off I guess. I mean really what could he do anyways except get madder.
Saturday Oct.11 - day two Desert Behind Whiskey Pete's: Car Rolling - Magnus Samuelsson Husafel Stone - ??????
note: There was a serious wind/sand storm coming on during the car rolling and so it was decided that they would hold the stone carry as soon as they got the course set up instead of later that afternoon. Well I left for about 30 minutes and when I got back I could not see with the wind being so strong and the sand blowing in my eyes. I wear contacts so it was really quite awful and I decided not to stay hoping that they would cancel the event. I'd say that at least half the people ended up leaving because of the conditions being as they were. I'll be quite curious to see how this event turned out when it is aired on tv.
note#2: I have all the results for the stone carry except for M.Samuelsson. So the winner was Svend Karlsen with 86.66 meters unless Samuelsson had was able to top that which he very well could have. I will be sure to get his time and let you know for sure.
Sunday Oct.12 - day three Fremont Street (Downtown Las Vegas): Squat - Mark Phillippi, Keg Loading - Flemming Rasmussen
Notes: the first event was to start at 9am but was changed to 5pm but i did not know this and got downtown at around 8am. I was really mad when i found out about the change after meeting some guys who also showed up early and we called the hotel. I ended up spending the day in Vegas on the Strip. I enjoyed though because it had been a few years since my last visit and there have been a lot of changes and new hotels so I can't complain too badly about being 8 hours early.
Svend Karlsen and Chief IronBear Collins were both injured during the squat event and sadly it was really the end for these two even though they would each later attempt the loading and the deadlift next day.
Flemming Rasmussen made about 3 dents/holes in the loading platform with his knees slamming into it because he was going so fast. This loading was one of the most exciting of the whole contest.
At 9pm the lightshow started - something that is done nightly on the hour at the "Freemont Experience." Well it came on at nine, ten, eleven and twelve and every time it came on the competition had to stop because the lights went out except for the show lights. The first time it came on everyone thought it was really cool but by the time the 3rd and 4th ones came on we all just wanted it to stop. It was late and I was actually starting to hope for the guys doing the squat to fail so we could get on with the loading and go back to the hotel which was about a 30-45 minute drive depending on what transportation you were using. Later I hoped they would just cancel the loading but they did not and it did not finish till just after midnight. I was able to snag a ride on the bus with some of the competitors and tv crew. We reached the hotel back in Primm at about 1am. Talk about exhausted and my night what was not even over yet but i'll get to my scheming next report.
Monday October 13 - day four Primm Valley Pool: Dead Lift - Jouko Ahola, Medley - Jouko Ahola
Award ceremony followed in front of the Primm Valley(Primadonna) Hotel about 15 minutes after the win. I was front and mostly centered so i'm hoping my pictures came out decent but it was already dark out so you never know.
Primadonna Resorts in Primm, Nevada
October 10,1997 Friday - Day One:
Overhead Lift (reps), After 2 events:
October 11,1997 Saturday - Day Two:
Car Roll, After 3 events:
October 12,1997 Sunday - Day Three:
Downtown Las Vegas - 6pm start time (changed from 9am to 5pm but actually began at 6)
Squat, After 5 events:
Note: Collins injured on 836lbs.
Keg Loading, After 6 events:
October 13,1997 Monday - Day Four:
Notes: For some reason Boyer did not participate in this last event and nothing was said as to him being injured. Both Collins and Karlsen were injured and decided not to go.
Thanx to DEAN and LEE for filling in the blanks!
There are conflicting reports on who actually won the medley but I believe that it was Samuelsson. Ahola beat Rasmussen in his heat and was therefore the new champ and I think this led everyone to believe that he also won this event but he did not. Ahola needed only to beat Rasmussen to take the title, he really didn't need to beat anyone else as he and Rasmussen were so far ahead in points.
There may be some minor adding mistakes as I was very tired when writing this. Also there might be small mistakes in the placings but to the best of my knowledge it is as accurate as possible. If anyone has any info or corrections to add just email and it will be posted.
Jouko Ahola said: (quotes and short translations)
-Olen aika pieni mies, joten siinä mielessä jotkut lajit ovat minulle erityisen kovia. Meikäläistä ei mitenkään noteerattu ennen kisoja ja minulta kysyttiinkin, olinko erään ranskalaisen kilpailijan huoltaja (I'm quite a small man, so some events are tough for me. I didn't get much attention before the competition started and I even got asked, if I was a caretaker of one french competitor)
-Nyt meitä on ryhdytty testaamaan, ja esimerkiksi Las Vegasissa jokainen kilpailija kävi läpi doping-testit kaksi päivää ennen suorituksia. Jos joku jää kiinni kielletyistä aineista, on seurauksena kilpaulukielto sekä kaikkien saatujen rahojen menettäminen. (Now they have started to test us and in Las Vegas every competitor went through doping-tests two days before the competition started. If anyone gets caught, he will get suspended and loose all the prize money)
- Oli valtava tunne viimeisen lajin lopussa nähdä, ettei Flemming sieltä enää pysty nousemaan. Vasta vähän myöhemmin oivalsin, että voitin siinä samalla koko kilpailun (In the end of the last event it was a great feeling to see, that Flemming can't rise anymore. Only a bit later I understood, that I won the whole competition)
- Onhan tämä kaikin puolin upea juttu. Olen ensimmäinen suomalainen, joka on voittanut koko maailman finaalin. Nämä ovat kuin lajin MM-kisat (This is a great thing in every way. I'm the first finn ever to win the world's.)
-Harjoittelen edelleen viidesti viikossa 3-4 tuntia päivässä. Olen itse rakennellut erilaisia vempeleistä, mm. voimaportaat, tukkeja ja betonista valettuja kiviä. Harjoitussalini on Hämeenlinnassa entisen tavaratalon pysäköintihallissa, jossa voin rauhassa kanniskella mm. henkilöautoja. (I train 3-4 hours per day five times a week. I have built among other things power stairs, logs and concrete stones. I train in an old warehouse's parking hall, where I can for example carry cars)
- Esimerkiksi farmarikävelyssä 150 kilon painot alkavat olla maksimaaliset, koska kenenkään sormet eivät kestä kanniskella 200 kilon painoja (In the farmers walk 150kg weights are near the maximum, because nobody's fingers can take 200kg)
- Voimamieskisoissa liikkuu nykyisin entistä enemmän rahaa. Tosin Suomessa voimamieslajeissa ei ole yhtä suuria rahoja kuin joissakin muissa maissa. Esimerkiksi Islannin Magnusson ei edes lähde kotimaastaan alle 17 000 markan kynnysrahalla (There's more money in strong man competitions nowadays. However, not as much in Finland as in some other countries. For example Magnusson doesn't leave Island for under 3500$)
Chris wrote also:
well they did not stay except for Kiri and on the last day at the last possible moment I actually approached him and got a pic with him and also had him sign my enlargements of him. His wife loved one of my pics so much that she would not even put it down so I gave it to her and she was so happy. Riku even smiled!!!!! in the pic too although the guy I had take it does not know how to take pictures
the BBC/ESPN/TWI have made his page the official strongman page and have asked him not to post the results until after the competition has aired in england which is usually sometime around christmas. But he has already posted some of the results now anyways.
Have you ever stood right next to Riku? He is not only huge but he carries an enormous presence with him that can be kinda intimidating. I don't think he does that on purpose it's just him, and he's so quiet. What else can I say except that he's absolutely gorgeous!
(how come he did not qualify?)
The loglift was an overhead lift/press for weight (increased) which if you view the '96 heat with Kiri well he didn't do good at all. In fact coming in 2nd to last place. I expected he would win but I guess not.
In farmers walk I thought he did okay but others in his heat were faster. The deadlift was for reps and I was sure he would do great and win this one but Boyer won it. I'm sure he came in top 3. Same thing with super yoke, he did go past me extremely fast but again I think Boyer was faster and also was really psyched for this event. If I'm not mistaken Kiri received a bad call similar to Flemming's incident in the 3way tie (overhead lift for repetitions/97final).
("Bad luck - you can't always win even if you are in a very good shape") Yes, so very true. But what happened in Primm just seemed so blatantly obvious. Did you know that an order had gone out not to advertise for the contest? I wonder why- food for thought wouldn't you say.
(Sorry I don't quite understand. Why wouldn't they advertise it?) The reason is what I have been saying all along- the "fixed" heats. If they were to advertise it like they should of then their would be too many witnesses to what they were doing. As it was everyone was comparing stopwatches and that is how all these rumors started. It was not only competitors talking but many spectators also. As for next year's competition there is no reason not to advertise it since they have accomplished what they wanted.
We talked about bad arrangements. (They sent for example the competitors very fast back to the airport after the award ceremony.) Yes I heard about that too. Gerrit had to leave at 4am the night of the last heats. That must of been awful. No time to just relax and take it all in.
(Competition was televised here 16.11.) What? You mean you've already seen the '97 WSM??????? oh not fair, not fair.