interviewed December 28 1999
WSL: Would you care to share with us some statistical and biographical information? (such as your date of birth, where were you born, your measurements, occupation, educational background, are you married, do you have kids etc.) 

Ahola: I was born the first of December 1970 in Hämeenlinna Finland. My body weight is       120 kg and I am 185 cm tall. Now I am pro strongman but I am carpenter by trade. I live in Hämeenlinna with my girlfriend, we don’t have any kids yet. 

WSL: Could you tell out of your numerous championships, which three are your favorites and why? (not necessarily the biggest titles) 

I WSM 97 It was my first WSM title.
II WSM 99 I was able to do it again.
III Helsinki Grand Prix 98 I heard, that I was lucky in Las Vegas, because Magnus Ver and Riku weren’t in final. It was an important competition for me because they were in that competition and after 8 events I was number one.
WSL: I just recently saw your strongman training video and really liked it.  Could you tell us more about it?  Has it been selling good? Are there plans for more videos? 

Ahola: In my opinion it is quite good video for strongman, because you can see all my techniques and you can see how I prepare for world’s. It wasn’t as big success as we thought, but we will make an another tape soon where is all my exercises from gym.

WSL:  I understand that you have just signed a movie contract to play the part of Siegmund Breitbart who is portrayed on American Strength Legends.  Could you tell us about this? What implications does this have on your strongman career? 

Ahola: I haven’t signed the contract yet, but I have been talking with producer and director that I might be in the movie, but it's not sure yet. If they will start shooting with me I will have small break from the competitions. 

WSL: When did you start lifting and competing? Did you play any sports as a kid? 

Ahola: I was 15 when I started to train with weights. I had my first competition 1992. It was small strongman competition called Strongest man in Hämeenlinna, my hometown. I was powerlifter as well when I was 22. I took second in Nationals, second in Nordic Championships and fifth in the World Championships. These were all for juniors. I used to be icehockey player before my strongman career. I did a little Karate too. 

WSL:  Who were your heroes/idols when you were growing up?  Did they change when you were competing?  Who do you admire today? 

Ahola: When I was icehockey goalie, it was Vladimir Tretjak. When I started lifting weights it was Arnold Shwarzenegger and it is still him. 

WSL: Could you name some of your best lifts and performances? (records in strongman, best in gym, powerlifting, weightlifting, just like that) 

Ahola: 10 reps with 120 kg biceps curl with regular bar.  
360 squat in gym.   
402.5 deadlift in gym – 387.5 in competition (European record).  
136 kg for 8 loglift (standing), 170 kg loglift Hawaii GP 1999.  
97 meters farmers walk with 131 kg each hand, course was 27 m.  
(editor note: plus unofficial World Records in at least Atlas Stones, Hercules Hold, Crucifix and Conan's Wheel)  

WSL:  What is next for you as far as competing goes? 

Ahola: I am looking forward to WSM 2000. 

WSL:  Prior to winning your first WSM in 1997, I had read that you competed in an unusually large number of contests to prepare yourself.  Could you tell us how many and how you kept your body in shape to sustain that high level over that much time. 

Ahola: During the spring 96 and fall 97, I did 36 competitions. It has always been very easy to me to recover after competitions and in my opinion, it was the best way for me to prepare myself for World´s in 97, but it is not my way any more. Now I just do events what will be in my next competition.  

WSL:  In talking to Kaz in 1997 right after you won the WSM for the first time, he had nothing but positive to say about you, especially about your heart and desire to win.  What do you attribute this trait to? 

Ahola: It is maybe the most important thing that you have very strong desire to win. You have to have very strong mind.  
WSL:  What are your favorite events? 

Ahola: Stones of strength, Conans wheel, Car walk, Stone press. 

WSL: Could you briefly tell us how you train? Any tips for future strongmen? 

Ahola: Usually my program is one week in gym and one week with events. Three months before the main competition I don’t do anything else but events. The tip is: Event training is the Key. 

WSL:  What did you think of this year's events in the WSM and the competition in general? 

Ahola: It was maybe the hardest WSM competition ever. Because of the heats, I mean, because there was six events in heats and for example the first event was so hard that anyone couldn’t finish it. The place was nice, all equipment was great and everything went like we were told before.

WSL:  Would you like to comment on the 1998 WSM competition.  What did you think of the contest and the conditions? 

Ahola: WSM 98 was ok, only the food was problem. It was ok that I was second. I did some mistakes when I was preparing for that competition. Sometimes you have to pay a lot for mistakes.  

WSL:  I understand that you just recently received and read a copy of the Sports Illustrated article called "Titans of Testosterone."  What did you think of the article – in particular the part in which you were referred to as the "Pharmaceutically Fabricated Finn"? 

Ahola: I think that the guy who wrote it doesn’t know too much of that kind of sport. Actually I don't care what there was of me because I know that it is not true.  It is a pity that I know who said so and I thought that he was my friend, but he is just a stupid person who can’t lose without complaining.  

WSL:  What do you think of the sport today?  Do you think it is healthy and growing?  If you could change aspects of the sport what would you do? 

Ahola: Strongman sport is a healthy and great sport if you are smart and you can use your head. It is growing and it is going to right direction. If I could, I would like to change opinions of what some people have of the strongman sport. 

WSL:  Do you have a funny story that is strongman-related that people might not know? 

Ahola: In 1997, in Las Vegas, just before competition one guy from TWI crew thought that I was a coach of Flemming Rasmussen. 

WSL:  Is there any message or greeting you would like to give your many, many fans out there? 

Ahola: I would like to say that I am very sorry that I don’t have enough time to answer your e-mails. I will do my best. Happy New Year to everyone!