World’s Strongest Man: Big boys don’t cry but enormous men nearly do
As far as festive and new year traditions go, watching enormous, bearded men lift, grunt and roar their way through a series of cartoonishly difficult tests of strength belongs in the same area as drinking tequila slammers for breakfast (now that was a happy Boxing Day).
But for some, it has become a tradition none the less, because on Channel 5 The World’s Strongest Man graces our screens annually around the winter solstice period.
This year it has been ongoing since mid-December and won’t come to a finish until New Year's Day. It is truly a feast for the eyes – especially as this year’s competition took place (back in April, but we won’t spoil the ending) in wonderfully photogenic areas of Philippines.
The men involved are frankly massive. They have names like Hafthor Bjornsson, Johan Els and, erm, Brian Shaw and tip the scales at around 200kg (similar to an average gorilla or just under three Sergio Agueros).
Most of them stand at over two metres tall. Their thorny beards are bushy enough to house lost children. Their arms are the thickness of a skinny man’s chest.
The things they do in their attempts to be named the strongest man in the world are exclusively in the realm of moving large weights, either by lifting them, throwing them or pulling them.
The things to lift include ludicrously large barbells, stone spheres slightly smaller than Jupiter and ungainly sacks of over half the competitors’ weight.
The things to throw are solid hunks of metal “as heavy as a large suitcase and it is as if you throw them into the plane yourself”, according to the commentators.
The pulling section mostly involves moving vehicles a short distance by hauling a rope that is tied around them. Simple, really.
Except this time around we witnessed a very 21st-century version of strong men, in the form of Britain’s Adam Bishop – whose name may be familiar to rugby union fans as he is the strength and conditioning coach at Harlequins – and Els, a towering South African, whose shaved bonce and ear-to-ear beard made him look like his head had been drawn upside-down.
As well as doing extremely well at all the heavy lifting, sweating and grunting, the pair also won the gold in the being-able-to-show-emotions category.
And in this age where men are urged to be unafraid of talking about their feelings, you can’t get much stronger than almost half a ton of masculinity coming close to crying over a competition on the outer fringes of sport.
Both men had been competing an all-or-nothing play-off involving lifting ‘Atlas stones’, spheres of progressively heavy weight, for a place in the final.
Els had somehow won despite nursing an injured shoulder. Bishop looked close to tears in the post-match interview. “I am gutted,” he said as his chin wrinkled. “It is the second time I have missed out on a final.”
Michelle Ackerley, the interviewer, looked genuinely concerned for Bishop, before turning to Els to ask him whether he was pleased at getting into the final.
“Big time,” Els said, his upside-down head betraying far more emotion than his fragmented words. He then shook his head slowly while continuing to make no sense whatsoever. “It all boils down to… I got it. Wow.”
He then looked impressed at passing this on-camera test of inner strength. Bring on the final.
The post World's Strongest Man: Big boys don't cry but enormous men nearly do appeared first on inews.co.uk.
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