World's Strongest Man 1999 Finals
Daily News

Wednesday, first day of finals
"The Man of the Year", Svend Karlsen 

After all difficulties he has been through, for example injuring himself in WSM '97 and being so sick the year after he couldn't even tie his shoelaces let alone compete in WSM '98, I believe all of ... ok, most of us ... wish him all the best this year ;-) Now I don't really believe any competitor sent him a 'get better soon so you can win the title' card... 

But now it's very close  with these  
events ...  Go for it Svend! 

After day 1:
1. Ahola, Karlsen, 19p  
3. Virtanen, 14p  
?. Samuelsson, 12p
Svend and Jouko are in the lead after the first day - Super Yoke (not 'Youko' this time!) and Deadlift. 

Yoke - Valletta, 10am:  
In his group of five Svend ran over a second faster than Jouko in the other group. They carried 355 kg on their shoulders. One careless step will start a swinging which will cost one seconds. If Jouko says he staggered a lot I just wonder how did the others do - except Svend. Virtanen came third and Samuelsson fifth. 

Deadlift - Hagar Qim (hope so - Temples in the background), 2pm: 


This was a conventional style deadlift after all: 
Ahola went to 380 with 10kg increments! 
Svend got 375kg (this shouldn't be a surprise) 
Veneberg third (nor this) 
Virtanen, Samuelsson plus three others placed "fourth" with 320kg 

The level of results was extremely low this year said Jouko and complained also Samuelsson getting points for "free". 

Magnus isn't in the lead now, but he's not totally out yet! 


Other news: 
After the cool box arrived Jouko's stomach started to work much better again. When I also hear that Bryan Neese lost 20 pounds, 9 kilos bodyweight during the qualifying due to "food poisoning", I must simply say that if you are going to travel this far away, the bacteria WILL BE different, no matter what the standard of living is at the place. And if you are going to compete for World's Strongest Man TV-title (the shoots take an eternity), you can't afford to end up in bed like a tourist who had to try exotic foods! Take as much food with you as you can carry!!! Strongmen even eat a lot more than a tourist. Bacillus becomes bacilli! 

Some wondered what happened to Badenhorst. If it wasn't the food, maybe it was that the qualifying events didn't favor him for sure. 

Oh and the nice people of Maltamag promised us even more pics! Also we should thank Hämeen sanomat, the leading sports newspaper in the world... 

Sorry my reports come this late... check Ironmind for plain results.

Full results added 25th November 
Competitor Yoke Deadlift
S. Karlsen 20.12 375
J. Ahola 21.34 380
J. Virtanen 23.43 320
H. Girard 23.71 320
M. Samuelsson 25.22 320
B. Veneberg 41.38 370
T. Olafsson 41.49 320
J. Barr - 320
L. Fekete - 300
R. Minkwitz injured -
Thursday Sep 16th, second day of finals
Magnus Samuelsson - Vegas, '97
Malta '99
Boat Pull - Wied iz-Zurrieq, 14.00     
1. Magnus Samuelsson 
2. Hugo Girard 
3. Janne Virtanen 
4. Svend Karlsen 
5. Jouko Ahola 


Full Standings  
Karlsen, 26 
Ahola, 25 
Samuelsson and Virtanen tied at 22 
Girard, 19 ½ 
Veneberg, 18 
Olafsson, 14 
Barr, 9 ½ 
Fekete, 6 
Minkwitz, 1 (withdrawn)

Samuelsson, as also Ironmind improved greatly from yesterday. We got to know that "Minkwitz was injured in the first couple meters of the super yoke yesterday, and was unable to continue. Samuelsson was reported to have aggravated his back in yesterday's deadlift, but his determination, coupled with the expert medical assistance he received, seem to have made that a non-issue as he won today's event." 

Magnus would want you to know that the show isn't over yet! 

I also liked very much what Philip Pfister (4th in WSM '98) wrote on Diesel Power Forum, currently the best forum for strong men: "Svend is a very funny guy with a great sense of humor, always clowning around ---- a great strongman too but I sure hope my little finnish friend the giant killer wins this one!!" 

Will be very close I'd say. The remaining events are what Svend does the best. Except for maybe Atlas Stones. 

Today the guys pulled a boat uphill on dry land (some buy a winch for that, these guys save the money for a good meal afterwards). Samuelsson has aggressive technique which seems to work best in fast pulls, Jouko's technique, with straight back and all, suits better for heavier pulls. He hasn't improved in this one as he should have. Arm over arm isn't just about how tall you are, it's about good coordination and being able to adapt technique when the load starts moving faster and faster. See Ziljstra on video. 

Jouko said there's nothing to explain - today four guys were better than him. "I'm not happy with my fifth place but not too disappointed either. I put everything I got on line. Also there are still events and days left." 

Friday might be decisive for the competition: Atlas Stones which Jouko must win, then pulling a 80 ton airplane with harness and rope. "In the plane pull the big guys always start strong, but if everything goes well, guys my size improve in the end. The distance to pull is 30 meters and that's a real task", described Jouko. 

The fact is, when pulling in a 45deg angle for example, you get tan(45)*bw=1 time your bodyweight pulling forwards, which equals to doing one chin-up. If Ahola has to do chins with 30kg extra to even keep up pace, I'm sorry to inform it will hurt him in the end also. Olafsson doesn't even need much strength, just a 70 deg angle. Still, I can't say I have nothing against this event. It's simply about who pulls it and who doesn't. There are events favoring lighter guys also. 

... I just got a mail from Christine, and she reminded me that her favorites are almost all with Manfred's group now. World's Strongest Man has suddenly become just one competition among others, but the organizers had it coming. However, WSM is still a great show as the guys try to be at their best there. 

Finally, let us welcome Australia's Strongest Man to join us in the web!

Competitor Boat pull
S. Karlsen 35.88
J. Ahola 36.20
J. Virtanen 33.81
H. Girard 32.27
M. Samuelsson 31.62
B. Veneberg 44.56
T. Olafsson 44.62
J. Barr 54.04
L. Fekete 57.88
R. Minkwitz -
Finnday Sep 17th, third day of finals
I used most of my finger strength today for writing a short article in Maltamag, when they in turn provided me more photos! (I even know the final results by now) 

As I said could be, Friday was decisive for the competition. Jouko hauled 18 points, placing 2nd in both events today, while Svend with more or less average performances (for him) got only 12 points. I believe Jouko's unequaled routine is what made the difference. 

Actually I had hard time even believing that Jouko did as well as he did. I was waiting that Svend makes up in plane pull what he loses in stones. But this is no time for Svend to be disappointed either! Definately the best show from him since Helsinki '98, just that this competition will mean much more for his strongman career! 

Cumulative scores after three days  
Ahola, 43  
Virtanen, 40 (well, if he has Ahola as his trainer, shouldn't be too surprising after all!) 
Karlsen, 38  
Samuelsson, 34  
Girard, 31 ½  
Veneberg, 28  
Olafsson, 23  
Fekete, 18  
Barr, 14 1/2  
Minkfitz, 1  
Atlas Stones - Golden Bay, 10am   

1. Fekete  
This event was what Laszlo was waiting for. Jouko won't sure be happy that this Hungarian beat him in the Atlas Stones again! Laszlo isn't a big believer in tar or sticky substances to aid with gripping the stone, instead lifts the stone as it is. And he has been lifting stones for years and years longer than Jouko, who's still a kid in comparison. 
2. Ahola 
3. Virtanen  
4. Samuelsson 

Ironmind: "The Atlas stones featured a new addition, a massive 163-kg stone, which was lifted by the top four finishers." 

Plane Pull with harness and rope - Malta Int. Airport 

25 meters (not 30), 83 tons. Virtanen and Ahola pulled it all the way, I'm not sure of the others. Janne was one second faster. Girard placed third. 

- Everything looks very good now, but there is still one day and two events left. 
- Stones went as expected and the plane pull even better 

Too much!
Malta Boeing 737 - 83 tons!
Competitor Stones Plane pull
S. Karlsen 4-25.63 43.78
J. Ahola 43.65 40.44
J. Virtanen 45.59 39.48
H. Girard 4-37.32 43.42
M. Samuelsson 57.03 44.66
B. Veneberg 61.82 47.66
T. Olafsson 4-37.72 44.53
J. Barr 2-63.09 59.63
L. Fekete 43.13 -
R. Minkwitz - -
Saturday Sep 18th, last day of finals
Giant Log Lift for reps (121kg on chest), Valletta Freedom Square, 10.00  

1. Girard (17 reps) 
2. Samuelsson (15) 
3. Ahola (14) 
4. Veneberg (11) 
5. Virtanen (9)
6. Olafsson, Karlsen (8)
8. Barr (6)
9. Fekete (1)

Medley, Valletta Freedom Square, 11.00 

1. Karlsen 41.00 s
2. Ahola 43.65
3. Girard 46.91
4. Virtanen 47.03 
5. Veneberg 56
6. Barr 77.4
7. Samuelsson 2-9.72 m
8. Olafsson 2-9.50 m
9. Fekete 2-9.65 m

Svend put up a good fight in the last events! 


1. Jouko ' Jokke' Ahola, FIN, 61p 
2. Janne 'Jalo' Virtanen, FIN, 53 
3. Svend 'Viking Power' Karlsen, NOR, 52.5 
4. Hugo 'HUGE-O' Girard, CAN, 49.5 
5. Magnus Samuelsson, SWE, 47 
6. Berend Veneberg, NED, 41  
7. Torfi Olafsson, ICE, 29.5  
8. Laszlo Fekete, HUN, 23
9. Jamie Barr, SCO, 22.5  
10. Rene Minkwitz, DEN, 1

GALLERY (Latest additions thanks to Michael A. Caruana!) 

A short article by him

Janne Virtanen afterwards about his 2nd place: 
- It tasted sweet and gave me belief for the future. It's good to continue from this. 
- Already next weekend I should be travelling to Estonia to international sumo wrestling competitions, but I might have to cancel that. Muscles got so sore here I might not be up to sumo ring too soon. 
Jouko was too busy Saturday evening to comment much. We'll hear him later.