A Summer Day in Kangasala, 11th of July [photos]


This has been a hot summer in Finland. In June alone there were more days over 25 deg of Celcius (we call that the heat limit) than there were in the whole last summer. Today was also hot, but not too hot for strongmen to compete. I went to see a small competition in Kangasala (forget it if you don't know where it is), mostly because I knew Jouko and Juha were going to be there (Jouko as a referee), but I was actually a bit suprised to see I knew most of the other competitors also. Some I have trained with, one competed with. 

Yep, should've been competing there myself, as I was planning to enter some small competitions this summer, but you know what, finishing studies, starting work, moving to a new aparment, hay fever... aah, explanations but I'm nowhere near good shape right now. But my muscles turned into money and study weeks, that's a small consolation I guess. And somehow I don't feel like competing when I'm not in my "best ever". No more of this - well maybe just one thing - when I'm not training hard, I don't (and can't) follow strongmen as intensively nor write to these pages. 

Now, Jouko was there judging this competition and also made a new WR in stone lifting. The last record was already a day old. Let me explain: Yesterday he lifted his biggest round stone, 215kg, to a 110cm high platform - actually twice! TV didn't get the first one, and Jouko is hungry for publicity, haha! (uhh, oh, the camera men can't have an idea what it takes) Today he lifted his stone to a 111cm platform, 1 cm more like Bubka! He should get a bigger stone already, could probably drag up a 230kg stone I'd say. Fekete has lifted a 205kg. 

Jouko has probably lost a kilo or two muscle or water, but I didn't dare to say anything like "you look smaller now", haha. And the group he came with had even forgot to take care about dinner! 

I talked mostly with Juha. He hasn't been training strongman for 5 months, and this competition was just fun and a good workout. He is planning to enter ultimate fighting challenges in US, and has been training wrestling and boxing for it. He's not heading to any bigger strongman comps now, at least not before Helsinki next year. I asked Juha what were his gym lifts before Helsinki, where he placed 4th. He did mostly event training, but also deadlifted 330, did seated presses behind the neck with 150kg and benched 2x220. It's ok considering he's quite athletic also. 

Jouko said that although Helsinki-00 comes too soon, when you think of making the film and all, he'll probably be there anyway and laughed about it. Can't stay away. He'll get to know the timetable for the movie in the next two days or so. During the movie making he'll do (only) mostly powerlifting type of training. 

Now when asked how he's doing, just said: "waiting for September". 

Juha convinced me Jouko has still been training hard, maybe even too much. Next three weekends there are GP competitions, and he will for example deadlift against Badenhorst and Veneberg in Dutch GP 24th of July. Jouko isn't actually interested at all, because he's doing completely different deadlift training now, no singles at all, with relatively small weights. So he'll probably do a routine lift - it would need 380kg even get to the second place he said! Veneberg is in shape as we know (370 conventional style last time). Badenhorst? 

TWI wants deadlift also in WSM this year. Probably there will be some other max lifts also. Even incline log max, who knows? But I haven't heard much.  

Oh, I'm again not taking a trip to this year's WSM in Malta. Next year more likely if Jouko still competes. Now all my money went to this new apartment. And all wasn't even enough... 

Hmm, Jouko doesn't think the two guys from AFSA will enter WSM. 

Oh, remember to order Jouko's training video from his home page! Hopefully it will be available early before September so the other competitors might have a chance in Malta... Just a joke boys! 

Some words about the competition 

Jarmo Hirvi, 37y lumberjack wins again, he's close to unbeatable with moderate weights. Juha also did fine considering he hasn't trained strongman for a while. Hirvi won the Farmer's Walk with only 80kg logs (hard to carry however, uneven surface to walk on and thick logs. The results were around 80m), also Hercules Hold with 120kg's (over a minute, but the handles were rotating). Juha won loading (110-160kg logs) and log press (style viking press) (23 reps with 100kg on hands). Nearly every weight was made of wood, as this competition was part of a logging site festival. There were also a sort of block carry (style husafel, 60m and 110kg) and a very interesting type of deadlift, actually a Scottish pole lift, where you want to erect the pole. The pics will show it better later, but it was like 


O = hinge, X is where you lift it and stand facing the I's, the weight plates. 

Remember this was a small competition, mostly for fun. The winner got 200$ and the winner of every event 100$. 

Finally parts from mails I've received 

I saw Helsinki GP with Svend commenting yesterday, on a Norwegian channel. A much better and longer show than on Eurosport. He said he fell out due to a virus, so did Gary, no power left, knocked out! I sure got a good laugh when he was telling about Janne Virtanen, the camera was focused on a man with a mustache and a cap, shouting something to Janne from the sideline, and Svend said loud and clear: "And here we have Janne's mother." Haha, you sure have lovely mothers in Finland. Btw, it's strange to see a man called "Janne" - that's a girl's name in Norway. 

From: Eun Lene Ekrem <lene@full-strength.no> 

Hello Sami! 
Thank's for the mail. Yes, I think Svend is going to do the competition in Beirut the 20-21.08.99. That's an IFSA org. one. Svend is still staying in IFSA, he want's to go for the WSM title this year. By the way, that's in Malta 6-20.9.99. Are you going? He will also take part when I'm going to org. Norway's Strongest Man in Aug.13-14.99.  The Pro Cup in Germany, I don't know who 's in the lead ?! I think it's more like a name, the cup has it's final in July. Have to go now, talk to you soon ! Take care! 

All my best, Eun Lene Ekrem. 

Eun Lene also told me strength athletics has spread like a wildfire in Norway and Sweden! And something about shirts she'd like to sell you, haha.  Remember to take a look at Full Strength Scandinavia website (I have it linked) when they have more there than a familiar face and a bicep on it. They are also making an internet site for Svend! 

Train harder than I have, 

(but better believe I will train hard now on)