World's Strongest Man Competition 1999 
Preparations for Malta plus other latest news from Finland 
Jouko lifting his 215kg stone for a new WR

The Finnish media has been following Jouko's preparations for WSM in Malta much more closely than during the last years. Strength Athletics has gained more and more publicity as gym training has become one of the most popular form-building exercises among Finnish men. If also women's aerobics classes are counted, gym training is the biggest sport in Finland. Walking and "jogging" (as fast walking) can't really be counted? That way spectator sports would always be nr 1. 

The growth of gym training creates a need for bigger articles about strongman plus also about women's fitness competitions. Bodybuilding and powerlifting are coming downhill, and they never had big audiences in the first place. 

One week before the qualifying started in Malta, Jouko and Janne Virtanen organized an open competition in Turenki (Janne's home town). They had about all the events supposed to be in the WSM finals also.  

Harri Simonen, Martti Kyrö and Tarmo Mitt (EST) wanted to have a go also. 

It seems that Jouko is at least in a decent shape just under WSM; he won every event. Virtanen had to drop out after deadlift where his back went into 'deadlock'. He didn't want to risk anything by continuing. 

In the first event Jouko walked 30 meters with a 370kg weight on his shoulders (Super Yoke) in 18,10 seconds, but Janne 'Jalo' Virtanen walked only a second behind. Harri Simonen was third with 42 seconds, the others weren't able to complete the course. Virtanen estimated that nobody beats Jouko in Super Youko ... ... Yoke. Personally - I wouln't be so sure. The events chosen for WSM finals don't actually favor Jouko. The organizers clearly had to forget using about 10 events so that Jouko couldn't just ask for the trophy by mail. This seems evident. 

Deadlift results were: Simonen 340, Virtanen 335 and Ahola 380. Ahola had some left in him, but this soon after Yoke (all events done in a single day, in WSM they will use four days, two events per day at max) he didn't feel like going higher. He's ready for 400 in Malta.  

Although Jouko has said that he's getting quite close to his "genetic strength potential", I as a bystander see that if he'd train plainly max lifts even for a year, he could still add 20-50 kg to each of his powerlifts (even with just eating more, though it's not good publicity to get much fatter). But as he has also stated, this sport gives a living, the other strength sports don't. He has always trained to win strongman competitions, not to brag with a single lift. 

At this point I agree that most of the improvement in strongman events for him comes from training technique and speed. 

Virtanen might still consider wrestling if it just paid more... plus he thought strength is born with: everybody can reach a certain level, but only those who have it in their genes can reach the very top. 

To which Jouko 
- Finns might have the strength in genes already, which may result from that life hasn't always been easy in this country. I can't say I've lived a hard life - but there might be a point in your thought about genes. At least it's clear that grip strength can't be really trained. You either have it or you don't. 

- I haven't found my limits yet, although improvement takes more time than before. For example a ten kg increase in deadlift means three months of training. But then it's about concentrating only on that event. 
- Success has a lot to do with mental strength. Many guys are tough at the gym, but when a number sign is put on chest, even the strength seems to disappear. 

Good material for Jouko's training video, whenever that comes out...?

Ahola continued to win Viking Press, 16 reps with 130kg. Simonen lost by only one rep. Kyrö got 9 and Mitt 7. 
Stones, 120-160kg on 185-155 cm platforms (7cm higher than usually which is a lot in these weights). Jouko used 35 seconds and he was the only one to get all up. Simonen and Mitt got 3 our of 5. 

Medley consisted of loading two 150kg sacks, flipping a 340kg wheel plus pushing wheel barrow with the sacks loaded. Jouko did it all in one minute. At least endurance seems to be fine, that won't present a problem in Malta. 

Competition final results: Ahola, Simonen, Mitt, Kyrö.

120kg on a 185cm platform!

Ahola told he has only one goal in Malta: to win. He will be very disappointed otherwise. But he remembers there is no room for mistakes. Last year he lost it all to one mistake.  

Jouko believes Samuelsson, Karlsen and Virtanen will be his toughest rivals. 

Virtanen aims to top 4. And he will take Finnish food with him for the trip! Last year the bugs in the food messed up everything. The organizers have promised this year things will be better. 


Sami Heinonen proves that a grown man won't survive with shoots
10 000 kcal per day

Sami Heinonen, a 196cm and 135kg strongman and engineering student from Rauma seats himself in front of the kitchen table every two hours. He doesn't believe in taking supplements really, but is convinced that he can get all the right nutrients by eating well and .. enough. 

Sami wishes to be the first man ever to deadlift 400kg and run 400 meters under a minute! 

He has already put aside what happened in Finland's Strongest Man competition earlier this year, and is in good terms again with the parties involved. He has turned his protest-2nd place to work for him now - next year he will leave no chances for others - he aims to be the World's Strongest Man!  

Either Virtanen or Heinonen will team up with Ahola to win Team World Championships later this year.


Juha Tuhkasaari lost his first UFC match in Honolulu, Hawaii 
Kickboxer and wrestler Josh Barnett, who in the end won the whole Super Brawl competition, got a good grip from Juha's arm on the ground and won the match with an elbow lock.

Juha has no need to be ashamed though. Before his mistake on the ground he got very good hits in and victory wasn't too far either. Barnett admitted to have been quite confused from Juha's strikes. 

Before the challenge Juha showed his skill in wrestling gym. None of the seven competitors who participated in the tournament were able to beat him in wrestling. It was to be expected though that Juha hasn't learned all the Martial Arts tricks yet. Physically there's almost none tougher.