The journey started already Wednesday by going to Frankfurt. This is one of my tricks when travelling alone. Start a day early and get a good night's sleep at a hotel close to the airport. Cuts down travel time on the day and makes everything much more smooth for me. Having access to infusion therapy I can do on the read means that I could relax at the hotel while I self administered my infusion, I can’t even begin to tell how much that means all in all.
It was my third Arnold in Columbus Ohio and it all came into place due to Björn Bruckman asking me to come along. We were to document for Fitness Management, the entire weekend, and what a thrill it would turn out to be. I had also qualified for participation in the Arnold Disabled Strongman, from my results in Worlds Strongest Disabled Man 2018.
Already Thursday upon arrival I got to have dinner with Zydrunas “Big Z” Savickas and Björn, Zydrunas is quite possibly the strongest human that has ever walked this planet and this gentle giant is always a pleasure to spend some time with. He told about the launch of his new protein range that you can find at the Big Z webshop. It is always exciting to hear about his thrilling career and how he now travels the world with his seminars teaching others about his way of training.
Friday I was ready to enter the festival itself. Jetlag was at a minimum, thank goodness going over to the USA always is easier than coming home, so I was fit for fight. I spent the day watching the amateur strongman qualifications and not to forget the epic crossfit competition where Team SAR (Some Assembly Required) had 6 of its members on the floor, one of them Sebastiana Lopez, is also a seated competitor in disabled strongman. Team SAR is pretty much the reason we see adaptive crossfit and strongman athletes on the floor at the Arnolds. They have for several years worked with Arnold Schwarzenegger himself to promote adaptive athletes in other sports than wheelchair bodybuilding and powerlifting. What this team and its members are doing is changing the face of sports all together. The winners of the first Spartan Para Elite last year came from this team.
Friday evening it was time for an epic meeting with the GRRRL Army. These are women who not only are representing a clothing brand, but they have taken a pledge to rise together with other women by accepting themselves and supporting others. The GRRRL clothing, was founded by Kortney Olson, also known as the woman with the worlds deadliest thighs because she has been known to crush watermelons with them. It was a fun filled evening with laughter and seriousness, a room full of women, many of them meeting for the very first time and needless to say there was bonding and great food.
Saturday morning I got the pleasure of interviewing Kortney for Fitness Management to let Europe hear more about the GRRRL movement and why it is so important for us to change the world with what we do.
With the arrival of my big wolf Cliff from Cornfed Spartans and Oscar Mike along with his brother Brady we were ready to take one another day at the expo. We had a great time watching team Saar in part two of their crossfit competition to start of the day. To meet up with another friend that we raced with at the OCR WC in Canada, Jamie, who now was a part of the American Ninja Warrior crew was a true treat. Cliff of course had to take on young Noah at the Spartan course for a little duel, what a spectacle it was. To finish off the day we had a small talk with Zydrunas and strength legend Bill Kazmeier at the SBD booth. We stopped in passing to watch the last few challengers at the dinnie stones replica being lifted. Wow what power!
Sunday morning I woke to yet another morning with a crackling in my chest that I have been trying hard to shake for some time now. There was only one thing to do and that was to pull out of the competition, was a very hard decision to make, but risking my health on the floor is never an option. On the upside, I got to see everything, world records dropping like flies all day long. Dana Shelley, Sebastiana Lopez, James Spurgin, Martin Tye, Alexander Armor and Michael Bishop all went home with new world records. Way to raise the bar for the next competition. The sport of disabled strongman is growing and it was very nice to see many new athletes on the floor.
Sunday also brought with it Anna Harjepaa from Sweden winning the heavyweight women’s amateur competition and going home with a pro strongman card. So incredible fun to see your friends succeed!
Monday morning came with blues and turning back home after a long weekend in Columbus was not the easiest travel. Jet lagged and happy I reached home, my man and my puppies for some rest before the next big event.