MHP World Log Lift Championship 2011

12 february 2011.

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The log lift: The ultimate test

Although the overhead log lift may have been a part of some old strength games it was not as heralded as the Stones of Strength, the Caber Toss, or, for that matter, the lifting of a boulder, so popular in Iceland. In fact, the first strongman act that involved a two-handed overhead lift was the Apollon Axle, the 166 kg (366 lbs) set of train wheels with an oversized handle, made famous by the French strongman Louis Uni ( Apollon) circa 1896.

Between 1953 and 1973, the Highland Games had introduced many different strength tests and contrasting lifts, but none that came close to the log lift as we know it nowadays. It is believed that the log was considered as a potential strongman event at the first time done during the World Heavy Events Championships in May 1973. But the log event was not a part of the very first competition of the World Strongest Man (WSM ) series,held at Universal Studios in California, in 1977. They had chosen instead to showcase the 113.5 kg barrel lift, a fridge race and a tug-of-war, amongst others. In 1979, they came on once more with a 136 kg barrel lift, Bill Kazmaier being edged out by the eventual winner, Don Reinhoudt.  1980 was the year of the official introduction log lifting.

Bill Kazmaier pulled the 326 lbs (148 kg) log from the hang and pressed it easily. It was a thick log. Don Reinhoudt missed the clean twice. Jerry Hannan and Don Reinhoudt failed with the next log, at 157 kg (346 lbs). Kazmaier and Lars Hedlund (Sweden) succeeded and shared first place. So the record was set in 1980 at 157 KG.  It was at Great Gorge, New Jersey, USA, at the 1981 WSM, that the log lift went for as many attempts as required within 90 seconds. This time Bill Kazmaier was alone for top honors, with a final lift at 163, 5 kg (360 lbs) lift.

The new world record

At Magic Mountain, Southern California, USA, at the 1982 WSM, the first event was again the log lift, and, once more, Bill Kazmaier got top honors, with the World power lifting champion of 1981, Ernie Hackett, in 
second place.  In 1983, the WSM was held " down under ", in New-Zealand, and the log lift was replaced by the overhead rock lift. Nobody could get past the 136 kg ( 300 lbs) barrier. The rock lift again in Mora, Sweden, at the 1984 WSM. A log, 5 meters long, was tossed in Highland Games style, rather than lifted overhead. No log lift either in Cascais, Portugal, in 1985. But sack races, boat haul, brass bells crucifix and lobster pots carry. And in France, in 1986, Jon Pall Sigmarsson won the WSM without having to challenge the log. The McGlashen Stones stole the show.

The log lift really got full credits in Hungary, at the 1988 WSM. It turned into a brilliant battle between Bill Kazmaier of the USA and Jamie Reeves of the UK. The Briton exceeded the 163 kg ( 360 lbs ) record set by Kazmaier in 1982. The great American strongman responded with a new world record st at 170 kg ( 375 lbs) and Jamie Reeves could not lift the 175 kg ( 386 lbs) log., reported as " too bulky a trunk and too akward to handle." Jamie Reeves made history the following year in San Sebastian, Spain, when he equalled the world record. That same year , Rudi Küster from Germany, powerlifting champion and Olympic weightlifting champion, became the first strongman to use the split style clean and jerk on the log lift.

In 1989 Jamie Reeves set a new record at 177 Kg , done in a competition in Iceland.  3 years later he broke his own record again to 180 Kg in a competition in South Africa.

It took 13 years before other strongman broke the record of Jamie Reeves  In 2002 Svend Karlsen made a new record with 185 KG , although it was done with a small log.

In 2003 Raimunds Bergmanis from Latvia took an unbelievable 190 kg, with his great weightlifting technique.

It was just a year later, in 2004,  when Zydrunas Savickas came with real power , no weightlifting technique but just pushing  and set a new standard with 200 KG!  He is keeping the record also today, 210 Kg, set in the strongman Champions League 2008 in Lithuania.

So, between 1988 and 2008, over that twenty years span, the log lift became a major event in world-class strongman competitions.  During that time, the greatest strongman lifter of modern times, recognized by many as the strongest man on the Planet, Zydrunas Savickas of Lithuania brought the log lift to stellar heights. His actual world record of 210 kg (462 lbs), exceeds the 1988/89 world record by almost 20 %, thus making the log lift event a worldwide favorite for millions of strongman fans.

Statistics of the Log Lift World records

Year Athlete Weight Place
1980 Bill Kazmaier 157 Kg in USA
1981 Bill Kazmaier 163,5 Kg in USA
1988 Bill Kazmaier 170 Kg in Hungary
1989 Jamie Reeves 177 Kg in Iceland
1992 Jamie Reeves 180 Kg in South Africa
2002 Svend Karlsen 185 Kg in Sweden
2004 Zydrunas Savickas 188 kg in Ukraine
2004 Raimunds Bergmanis 190 Kg in Russia
2005 Zydrunas Savickas 200 Kg in Hungary
2005 Zydrunas Savickas 202.5kg in Latvia
2006 Zydrunas Savickas 205 Kg in Holland
2008 Zydrunas Savickas 207,5 Kg in Holland
2008 Zydrunas Savickas 210 Kg in Lithuania

Paul Ohl, Marcel Mostert (2008).

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