by Al Myers
When I was in Australia for the IAWA Gold Cup, meet promoter John Mahon hosted the very first International Old Time Strongman Challenge following the meet. I was very excited to see this – as OTSM was started in the USAWA 5 years ago and now other countries in IAWA are getting interested in it. The founding concept of OTSM is to bridge strongman with All Round Weightlifting by contesting lifts/movements that were favorites of famous Old Time Strongmen and contest them by following the basic format of a weightlifting meet instead of a strongman competition. This means having lifts that can be loaded with the weight of the lifter’s choosing, and allowing 3 attempts to accomplish a max. Also as part of these OTSM lifts rule infractions in the rulebook are a minimum and a lifter is on a 1 minute clock to perform a legal lift.
This was a truly international OTSM challenge. Lifters from Australia, England and the USA took part. The challenge had a good variety of lifts with the Anderson Squat, the Apollon’s Lift, and the People’s Deadlift being the events contested. The venue was outside on the lawn of the Belmont Club. It was a beautiful sunny day for the competition which added to the enjoyment of lifting. Very rarely do you get a chance to lift outside. It’s a special moment when that does happen.
Steve Gardner was appointed the head official and I assumed the role of timekeeper. The Anderson Squat was the first event. John had perfect stands for this event which allowed the plates to be rested on elevated stands. Graham “Big Red” Saxton took control early with a big 260 KG Anderson Squat! John Mahon put up the biggest Anderson Squat with a 300 KG. For the Apollon’s Lift, Peter Phillips had made up a beautiful set of replica Apollon’s Wheels for the event. This made this OTSM event even more authentic! Denny Habecker “Steinborned” the axle to achieve a very fine lift of 56 KG’s. Newcomer Alex Biason performed a very solid 81 kilograms in the Apollon’s Lift. The People’s Deadlift was very exciting. I knew beforehand several of the lifter’s would be very close in poundage and it would be a showdown for top lift. Indeed it turned out that way. Alex hit 215 KG followed by Graham at 225. John and Peter finished off tied with 250 KG each.
When all the dust settled, John Mahon came out as the overall champion, followed by Graham Saxton in second, and the USAWA OTSM reigning champion Denny Habecker in third. I was very pleased to see all participating countries represented in the top three in the inaugural international Old Time Strongman Challenge. An award was given to the lifter with the top total poundage, and that also went to John with a 656 total.
I was so impressed with this event following the Gold Cup that I plan to host the second international OTSM Challenge following the Gold Cup next year during my promotion.
2015 International OTSM Challenge
November 29th, 2015
Belmont Sports and Recreational Club
Meet Promoter: John Mahon
Head Official: Steve Gardner
Scorekeeper: Sharni Clifford
Lifts: Anderson Squat, Apollon’s Lift, People’s Deadlift