My US Strongman: Rich DeStefani reports from SCL Finland

August 29, 2017

I finally achieved what I have been working towards these past 97 months. August 19th and 20th, 2017, I competed in Finland at Strongman Champions League Vaasa.


This week has been a very emotional week for me. I have worked towards my goal of competing as a pro strongman ever since my first competition, SportsFest 1, July 19th, 2009.


This was the most nervous I have ever been in my life going into a competition. Not only was I going against WSM finalists and world record holders, but it was my first competition out of the USA.


Event 1 was a 165kg Viking Press. During the warm-ups, I realized the Viking press was too high for me, I wouldn't be able to dip and get leg drive without hitting the frame. The grounds crew quickly jumped in and came up with an idea for the competitors to stand on if they needed. I was in the 6th heat out of 7 so I knew the approximate reps needed to win but was concentrating on doing my best. 


Once the whistle blew, I picked up the Viking press and got in position. The first rep was ugly and made me nervous for the rest of my reps, but I knew I was getting more. I concentrated, exploded with my legs and busted out 4 more reps! After 2 missed attempts on the 6th rep, I dropped the Viking press. 5 reps at 165kg/363lbs was a big win for myself.  (and yes, they weighed the Viking press at the point of pressing and it was 165kg in hand!) This was the biggest weight I ever had to press in a competition and on a piece of equipment that I never saw before. Oh and it was a monsoon out during the whole competition. I was very pleased to have tied for 6th or 7th (forget exactly) on this event.