Saturday, December 1, 2012

Favorite Strongman #2 - Gerrit Badenhorst

Back in the Mid 90's I remember watching an ESPN World's Strongest Man contest, and one of the lady co-hosts wanted to give the audience an idea of just how difficult it could be for these hulking me to buy clothes that fit. So she picked Gerrit Badenhorst to accompany here to one of the local men's clothing stores in the Bahamas.  The shopkeeper went and got a size 60 sport jacket, which is really big... For frame of reference I wear a 52-54 and I'm as wide as a door and weight 300lbs... But anyway, the smiling and courteous Gerrit put the jacket on, barely, and to the surprise of everyone the jacket barely contained his large bowling ball shoulders and the sleeves fit skin tight over his enormous upper arm. And if he had just pushed his arms together the back would have ripped in half.  I remember thinking two things, 1) That is amazing, 2) I want to be like that.  (if you go to the 1:13:25 mark on this video you can see what I so clearly remember from my younger days, it is also a good interview)

Gerrit, much like current strongman competitor Terry Hollands, began his athletic career playing rugby. Then later moved to powerlifting and won 3 World Championships in the WPC totaling an all time best of over 2400lbs. 

In 1992 his strongman career began, and competed from 1992 all the way up to 2000. His best finish was a second place showing at the 1995 World's Strongest Man in The Bahamas (you can watch the finals of that contest by clicking here).

carrying the "Africa Stone" in at the 2000 WSM
Why I like him:
  • He had a very long career and proved himself to be a ironman in a variety of disciplines.
  • I remember reading an interview with him several years ago.  At the end the person doing the interview said "is their anything you want to add?" and he said "Yes, I want everyone to know that I am a Christian". That always stuck with me, and impressed me about him. He seemed to blend a life that is God honoring with his passion for strength. Inspiring.
  • He was a fantastic deadlifter, a lift that I enjoy and work to improve.
  • He reminded me of the old fashioned sportsmen from prior years, with his good natured but competitive attitude. 

Gerrit's album cover 
In 2005, God Bless him, he tried his hand at singing... It was, well, it could have been worse. However, if he was as good at singing/songwriting as he was strongman he would have rivaled Luciano Pavarotti, but unfortunately that wasn't the case...  I will admit, it seemed like a huge hit with the Scandinavian crowd. 

If you want a little taste of a Strongman turned singer...  You asked for it...