I called Svend last week. He was looking for a new car and apartment too. Karlsens have divorced - Nanna will take care of the gym and Svend will become a full time strongman.
He told me they had slowly grown apart, now just lived and trained at the same gym, but really had no life together. I guess they will continue training at the same place still.
I don't know what to say. When he asked me how I was doing, I answered "Well, I guess better than you".
"I don't think so", he said! And something about becoming a full time strongman inspires him to train harder than ever. He has also recovered from that virus. It took 8 weeks.
Feeling like a little boy or something... A happy man? Oh well, maybe I'll understand whet I get older ;-)
Long ago I asked Svend about what did Nanna like those tattoos he took after his bodybuilding career. That was by e-mail and I didn't really get an answer. So I asked now if the tattoos were the reason for... ;-) No, he said. Those were partly Nanna's idea from the beginning. Just that now he has this tattoo which reads "Nanna". He might later put the date when they met and when they divorced under it.
Now when Svend doesn't have his gym any more, he has started to look for sponsors. And maybe also for shows and competitions. He thinks it would be better for sponsors if he cut down some weight and get to 10% bodyfat (Chris added: for ladies too). When you make a living with your body, you have to look impressive.
He didn't lose much weight when he was sick but some of it traveled from chest down to... He did have only 52cm arms when he was able to start training again. Now they are at 54 and should go up a couple of centimeters still before he's in best shape again.
Now it's keeping him busy because the divorce stuff and everything, but at November 21-24 he will show up in a seminar in Boston. Later, he might also be seen in Helsinki while he's visiting Ilkka Kinnunen. But there aren't any big competitions until Helsinki GP '99.
Jouko, as you know, is going to the Strongest Man Alive competition next weekend. I said that Jouko is about the only one now who can really do 10 events / day. Svend said that just wait when he'll be back in shape again.
Ok, something what he said about competition in Morocco:
When he had seen Magnus at some bodybuilding fair in Sweden, Magnus had told to the audience that he had beaten everyone in Morocco, except Svend Karlsen, and he's sitting there. That was a nice thing from him to say.
When he first time had seen Magnus bench press (Magnus is very good at that, about 250kg), he got very surprised. Magnus benched like "a beginner", every rep different, horrible style, but achieved many reps with 210kg. So he "must be fucking strong".
- Ahola was a great champ. Not cocky.
Magnus weighs now over 140kg, but he's not exactly a bodybuilder when the shirt comes off. So Svend, what's this, you told me Samuelsson will never get fat?
Svend about Olafsson weighing 190kg: It does not even look funny, but there are...<snip>
Jouko told me "maybe they wanted someone who looks more like a strongman to win this year". Svend kind of answered that Jouko does look very much like a strongman.
And as I said already, Svend will start to cut down some fat himself and maybe train awhile more bodybuilding style.
Last week I asked Jouko how much did he weigh at 20 years old, so now it was time for Svend to answer: Over 120 kg, but he had already won the Nordic Championships in powerlifting at 18 years old (if I remember - and it was junior class).
- When did you weigh 100kg? Have you EVER been that small?
At 14, when he really started training, his first ever deadlift was 150kg! Still at 14, he was able to pull 200! I can understand that deadlift goes so well for him, he grew to be a deadlifter. (My first try at 17 was 120kg, but because it was my friend's place, there was no more weight.)
For Svend deadlift and squat feel natural, he "just bends down a little" and that's it. Body proportions also perfect.
When I told him I have weaker legs than my lower back so there's a considerable difference between my deadlift and squat, he tells there is this old guy in Norway... who was maybe the first one ever to deadlift 400kg. At the same competition, he also maxed in squat. Guess how much did he get? 200kg!
Although Svend agrees with Jouko that WSM is not a powerlifting competition, he thinks there could have been at least some max strength event. Log lift is not exactly...
His record with 3x-cm diameter log is 190kg. I encouraged him to try 45cm log sometimes, I have been recently playing with that size. It's hopeless. I'm not sure what size did they have in Morocco, but the thickness has a very big effect on kilos lifted.
Crucifix records: not as good as Jouko with 12,5kg, but comes close to a minute with 17,5kg.
Why Finns do so well in Hercules Hold: Oh it's because they are used to hold vodka bottle so tight!
First time Svend tried farmers walk (mine was with 105's and could take only 5mm steps at the beginning - the second try was already much easier, grip seemed not to be the biggest problem) he was running with 120kg weights ... but after 15 meters he dropped them and everyone thought something went wrong. Oh, nothing went wrong, just the grip didn't hold more.
Let me remind you, Svend has a very strong grip (300kg deadlift with a forward grip!), just at first when he started training strongman, he had difficulties holding it for long. Now that should not be a problem anymore: 65 meters with 150kg cases.
Oh, and Svend also wondered why TWI doesn't let the results out. "But I guess that doesn't stop you", he said.