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Gary Mitchell
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA


Gary Mitchell’s Bio


I grew up on a dairy farm in southern Virginia. As I look back on the physical demands of working on a dairy farm, I can see that many of the daily tasks that I performed helped to shape my some of the strengths I have as a professional strength athlete. For instance, the countless bails of hay I have loaded onto a trailer. They range in weight from 80 to 125 lbs and the key to getting them onto the trailer is too lift them from the ground to above chest level as fast as possible. On of my best events in competing is anything that requires the throwing of a weight or implement for height, such as the event where we toss a beer keg for max height. I can see that the many hours of loading the hay bails helped to develop the fast twitch muscle fibers need to be successful in this event. For the record, I have set the world record in the keg toss for height, 3 times.



I wrestled and played football in high school, with some success in football and much more in wrestling. In my wrestling career in high school I had only a few losses. My junior year I sustained a shoulder injury (still a problem) that limited my success and ultimately at tournament time was the reason for ending my year prematurely. I was undefeated in my senior year until the first round of the state tournament and my shoulder problem caused me to end my season in the first round. Although I received multiple opportunities to wrestle in college I decided that I wanted to follow my dream and play college and pro football.


I went to college at the University of Maryland in College Park Md. My athletic focus for college was to play football and hopefully with enough training I would be able to live my dream.  During Spring practice in 1985 I won the award for being the overall best athlete on the football team. The award is given for excelling in both strength and athletic ability.


After leaving the Maryland football team I pursued a career in professional football.


I tried out with 3 different teams. Complications from my previous injuries hampered my chances of making a final roster on an NFL team. 3 years of a single focus of trying to make it in the NFL took its tool and I decided to move on with my life. 


I then competed in the sport of powerlifting and won numerous titles and set a few world records. I competed in a total of 14 national championships in various different powerlifting organizations.


After a couple of years of powerlifting I decided to try to compete in the sport of Strongman or strength athletics. As I transitioned into becoming a professional strongman I competed less and less in the sport of powerlifting. . I was involved in that sport for the next 15 years. Although not as genetically gifted as some of the other strongman competitors, I maximized my full physical potential and went on to a successful career in strongman competitions. Over my career of being a professional strongman, I competed internationally in over 75 competitions.


I have suffered many injuries related to my pursuit of athletic excellence. Three knee operations related to football, and seven knee operations (2 total reconstructions), 3 back operations, 2 shoulder operations, and one total reattachment of my left triceps, all related to competing or training to be the world’s strongest man.    


If there is one thing I know how to do it is to get myself and other athletes to achieve there fullest potential, both physically and mentally.  It takes as much if not more mental power than physical power to become one of the strongest men. I have shown time after time that I have tremendous mental strength when I need to push my body to past any limits imaginable.


My approach to becoming a successful in strength athletics was to work harder than any of my competitors. I have always taken much pride in the fact that I worked harder than anybody else and I was willing to pay the price, whatever it was, to be the very best. I have shown many times that most people would have quit and gone onto doing something else if they had to overcome the countless injuries that I have experienced in my career. I used them to motivate myself in that I would say how much more gratifying it will be when I am able to achieve the ultimate prize of standing on the highest step on the podium, and have overcome all of the major set backs that I have endured.    


I have also worked for major corporations, where I have had the responsibility of managing many types of employees.  I have been very successful in training and coaching those employees into achieving the goals that were set before them.


The link to my web site is: www.strengthathlete.com

Competition Stats



  • Height: 6'1"

  • Waist: 38

  • Thighs: 34

  • Date of Birth: January 17th,

  • Weight: 290lbs, but has been as
     high as 333 pounds

  • Arms: 22inches

  • Chest: 55

Excerpt below from American Strength Legends (www.strengthlegengs.com)


Standing at six feet one inch and weighing an impressive 308 pounds at less than 9% body fat, Gary Mitchell is a very massive man. As many of you remember him from watching ESPN, Gary Mitchell competed in the US Strongman Finals last year in Prim, Nevada. Unfortunately, he had to withdraw on the last day of competition due to an unfortunate bicep tear that happened to him after the first event. He competed in the World Muscle Power Championship (WMPC) last year(1997) where he put on a very impressive display of will power finishing in fifth place despite tearing both of his biceps. He has won the Virginia's Strongest Man contest twice and on his third year (his second title defense), he blew his knee out in the log press while being well ahead on points. He also won the North American Strongman Championship in 1992. Before his strongman career, Gary was a super heavyweight powerlifter. He recorded an impressive 903 squat in the 1992 APF Seniors. He also was declared the USPF national champ, but was not selected to compete in the IPF World's due to threatened legal action by some of his fellow competitors. However, Gary is in tip-top physical shape for his second turn at the WMPC title in just a couple of days. He is setting new PR's every workout in the gym and weighs a hefty 308 pounds. With his 34 inch legs, it may be hard to deny him the title this year.

Gary also has a work ethic that is truly unbelievable. He trains five days a week-four in the gym and one with the various strongman implements that he and his training partners Mark Keshishian and Bubba have acquired. Every workout is long, hard and heavy. There are no light days for Gary. However, some have dubbed him the "unluckiest strongman in history" due to his plethora of injuries which include 10 knee operations and three back surgeries. This just shows his superior drive and his big heart. I doubt that many could suffer the injuries that he has over his career and still continue to compete and give it his all. (by Justin McShane of American Strength Legends

The Sport of Strongman

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Numerous Strongman Contests and Exhibitions

 2000Beauty and The Beast
1999 Helsinki Grand-Prix
1999 Beauty and The Beast
1999 AFSA US Championships
1999 Holly Michigan Renaissance Festival
1998 Holly Michigan Renaissance Festival
1998 Arnold Classic Fitness weekend 
1998 Strongest Man Alive
1998 Minot, North Dakota Strongman Contest
1998 World Muscle Power Championships
1997World Muscle Power Championships
1997 World's Strongest Man Competitor
1992 North American Strong Man Championships
1991 Virginia's Strongest Man
1990 Virginia's Strongest Man


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Best Lifts

in competition
Squat: 903 pounds
Bench press: 507 pounds
Deadlift: 733 pounds

in the gym

Squat: 705 pounds for 5 reps with just a belt and wraps-no suit; 805 pounds for three reps with just a belt and wraps-no suit; 505 pounds with no belt, no wraps and no equipment at all for 17 reps at one time and 15 at another time
Bench press: 535 pounds for a double
Deadlift: 735 pounds for a double

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all photos Copyright © strengthathlete.com, American strength legends or samson-power.com

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