While browsing through the messages on one of the forums the other day I ran across a post from Bill Lyndon. Well I saw his email address and you know me - couldn't resist writing to him. I asked him a ton of questions, I'm terrible I know, but credit Bill for taking the time to answer them all.
Bill was born on January 30, 1964 in Melbourne, Australia and is one of seven children (five girls, two boys). He is a self-employed structural engineer, sports promoter and semi-pro strongman. Education is high school and business college. His athletic background includes aussie football, american football, rugby league (played 2 seasons in Perth), cycling and powerlifting where he has won four national powerlifting titles. He says he started serious lifting at 23 years old.
I asked him about his training . He trains 1 to 2 hours, 3 days heavy/3 days moderate and 1 day for event training. "I base my training in a sports specific manner i.e. olympic lifting - all ranges and variable grips this is the cornerstone of my training, I'm high pulling 220 kgs to my lower chest for 5, standing upright. Basic leg program squats with variable heights in the rack. Leg press I now don't go over 600 kgs just work in 10 to 15 rep range. I'm now working on a few weak points in my legs, calves, and hams (they're coming), stiff leg deadlifts, good morns, lots calve raises. I'm now just starting a deadlift program hopefully I will peak around July-August looking at a p.b. hopefully. I'm working a lot overhead with pressing - same hand position as log, I have my steel log for training, it has been an average event for me but I'm working on it."
And where the heck does one get a steel log to train with? "I fabricated it myself, I'm very mech minded. I also have 15 other implements - tire, stones, axes etc."
How did he get started in the strongman competitions? "Got invited to Scotland in '93 at muscle power comp when the Chief [Harold Collins] first arrived on the scene, all the guys were there Gary Taylor, Manfred, Wayne Price, Maggie [Magnus Ver Magnusson], Forbes. For me I was very happy to be in this company I didn't do so well but it was a start. That year Big Chief got the invite to wsm in France, it was between me and Chief. He beat me and got the spot, I came back the next year and went to wsm."
Bill competed at WSM in 1994, 1996, 1997 and 1998 and then joined Manfred Hoeberl's AFSA organization.
I asked him if it was a hard decision to go to Manfred's group knowing that he would be banned by the IFSA? His reply, "Manfred contacted me late last year and offered me a position on the team, my decision was automatic with that kind of crew - I was in w.s.m. final every time I competed, I was very happy with the offer, my biggest problem as a competitor was I was not getting any comps. In '98 I went to Hungary and then Morocco this was not enough to keep me in touch with the sport so my decision was easy - at the start five comps were offered.
"Strongmen like Manfred and Maggie put this sport on the map not just as athletes, but as ambassadors to the sport. These guys made the turning point and took the sport to a new level, of course other guys too like Badenhorst, Kiri, Veneberg, Cowan, Price, Gary Taylor, Jamie Reeves, and many others contributed, the real turnaround was early nineties. The IFSA and AFSA debacle well what can I say most guys would agree strongmen are not politicians all the guys want to do is compete with Flemming, Kiri and so on..."
Now on to the more fun questions I asked, most of which have nothing at all to do with strongman competitions.
Did you have any heroes or idols when you were growing up? This is so cute, "Spiderman (as a kid), Mike Tyson was very inspiring (early in his career)." Hope so.
Do you admire anyone now? "People I admire now are more in my personal life than sports people."
What are your favorite events? "Best events -explosive- loading -powerstairs- throwing- static is ok when I'm in form- I'm quite fast on my feet and balanced- my grip is shitty it has let me down many times- and my stones need work (a lot of work)."
Favorite food? "Sushi, Thai, western, and I have a sweet tooth - cakes ummm." I think one definitely has to acquire a taste for sushi at least that's my opinion but to each his own I say. Now I was tempted to ask how much he eats in one day while training for a competition but didn't. I can't help it that I wonder about things like that - don't these guys have to eat a lot to "feed" their muscles? Am I the only one who wonders about these things? Doesn't anyone want to know what the average strongman diet is like?
Bill favors the colors green and violet.
Nickname? "...Buzz as in Buzz Lightyears apparently there's a likeness." Who????, never heard of him.
What kind of music do you listen to? "Hard rock, soft rock, dance, almost anything but country." Well said.
Do you have any hobbies? "Hobbies
- I love to travel strongman has taken me to many lovely places -best Mauritius
I just loved it, Scotland is full of history, Dubai was really cool, nice
people - the list goes on.."
|Scotland 1996 at the World Muscle Power Championship
where Bill placed second in the tire flip and fourth overall. This
was the first time the tire flip was ever used in a strongman show.
Yep I can imagine but is there one place you still would really like to visit that you haven't had the chance to yet? "Iceland, not because of MVM or Jon P., it's very rugged, raw, unusual pretty much like myself. My heritage is Irish-Nordic-French Indian, one of my sisters studied genealogy and did extensive research."
Anything I missed and you'd like to add for the article? "I would like to say strongman has been the highlight of my athletic career, to compete at the elite level in this sport is very satisfying. My advice to budding strongman out there is to have a good time as they climb the strongman ladder, listen and learn, don't overtrain, have a physio program, supplement intelligently, don't kill yourself in the process, have a coach, be patient, have a steady income outside strongman believe me you will be no Bill Gates in strongman." Sounds like solid advice to me.
Bill has informed me that he will be competing in five competitions, so far, this year but could not release any details yet and believe me I tried to get the dates. He has also said he will very soon be having his own web page up and we'll post the link as soon as we get that info. He will be in Germany next week filming a mini-documentary.
Thanks again Bill.
BILL LYNDON - Part Two
After continued exchanges I decided to add a part two to the interview and also Bill sent me some much needed photos to add here, thank you, because my scanner's on the out ever since I dropped it, go figure:)
I'm curious as to where that tiger photo was taken because it looks kind of exotic. "Chris this photo was taken in a zoo in Thailand, the tiger is a female 4yrs 150kg as I was sitting on her (not completely) she was not so happy she was moaning, anyway I think she had the best of her handler - he had one arm missing." Hello. If I saw the handler had one arm missing I wouldn't dare to go near that tiger. (Ha - I knew that was taken in Thailand that's why I had to ask, it's a cool photo!)
How many tattooes do you have? any meaning/story to them you care to share? They look pretty cool - I was just curious. "I have three tats, rht arm I got at 15 (MISSPENT YOUTH) an eagle over a skull and cross bones. No 2 on my back I had a grim reaper at 18 but now I have it covered with what I call the cycle of life, its the world in the middle of the sun with the impression at high speed, its not finished yet, when I have the time I'll finish it. No 3 I had a yosemite sam (CARTOON) now it's covered with a tiger and I have stripes going over my shoulder onto my chest, it still needs about 8hrs to complete it's my favorite and represents my eastern birth sign." Bill was born in the year of the tiger, 1964.
Have you had any serious injuries from a competition? "Last year before full strength challenge Austria I tore my adductor (groin) and my vastus medialis this was squating 785 in a powerlifting comp, five weeks out from Austria that probably accounts for my poor performance. My worst injury was Dec 8 1999 while benching 440 for reps on my 4th rep half way down my pec tendon ruptured, 3 days later I had it reattached. I have made a good recovery and I hope to do 2 or 3 comps this year."
What would you say has been your most impressive feat of strength? "Last year at Dubai in the 1200kg cable spool push where I finished the event and second to Kiri. Pulling 360 ton boat arm over arm. Pulling 220 ton train, 34 ton tram 25 metre in 37 seconds." I really would like to have seen that Dubai competition but it was not shown here:(
Was that the event (cable spool) where Phil Makdisi was injured? "Yes this was the event, the cable spool slipped a little on the first ramp attempt, he was in the squat position and it pushed him down into a very deep squat position tearing both quadriceps in the process, a very difficult turn of events was to follow. First we had to carry Phil on a stretcher that was about 30cm wide, down some stairs and 50 mtrs to a waiting ambulance. When they got Phil to the arabic hospital they could not find a problem, Gary Taylor told them to bend his legs a little, they did the MRI scan again and revealed both quads at the knee were separated. This hospital was not prepared for this type of surgery so they had to send him off to the american base hospital where surgery was performed immediately. So many things happened to get Phil home after such a bad injury, taking out six seats in an aircraft to fit Phil in, it took three days to get him home changing planes six times. I believe Phil has made a good recovery and is training again. The doctor's bill was about $30,000.00US, Manfred ???? Back to the event - after Phil it was my turn to go, I finished all five levels and finished second to Kiri."
Were you hesitant at all to do this event after seeing him injured? "After all the drama of moving him and sending him to the hospital I pretty much got over it. I had devised a technique that nobody had tried, I just wanted to get on with it."
This promotion of yours 'Spartan Warriors Australia' - what made you decide on starting this? What other athletes have competed for you? Do you have any contests scheduled for this year yet? "I am trying to establish the sport of strongman in Australia, at the moment I have three comps for this year and ten competitors, all under 25 and 6'3" +300lb."
How long have you been promoting these contests? Or have you just recently formed this company 'Spartan Warriors Australia'? "Spartan Warriors have been in the pipeline now for two years and a few comps later I'm advertising extensively in mags, mail outs, public events, as a business man I see a lot of potential in producing shows but my concepts are with a lot more creative content i.e. props, tribal music, costumes not too wanky but enough to make a strong er visual response." I'm thinking wanky would mean like "hokey" in american terms.
You're starting a new website? Will you still be keeping the one you have up now? tell me more:) "I will be keeping the existing site and placing into the new one, this site will take awhile to prepare. It will be called Aussie Power and will feature many diverse athletes from strongman, powerlifters, olympic lifters, throwers and more - it will cover Australia and the Asia Pacific region." Looking forward to it, thanks again for your time and the great photos.
Note: I found out who this Buzz Lightyears is
- saw him, by accident, on the academy awards earlier this year. Some people
might think this is funny but I honestly didn't know who it was.