There was a really, really big guy tossing pony kegs over his head and over a 15-foot wall. Apparently this is an actual sport.
Intrigued in spite of myself, I sat down to watch the final three shows that comprised the finale of the 2008 MetRx World's Strongest Man Competition.
There were some pretty wacky challenges: Pulling a 50,000 lb. semi truck. Carrying a 495 lb. cylinder up concrete stairs. Deadlifting a Jeep.
The keg-throwing man was an American named Travis Ortmayer from Texas. I was really rooting for him until the Atlas Stones competition, which he did with his shirt off and both nipple rings showing. Sorry, but... ewwww.
The winner of the competition was a Polish man named Mariusz Pudzianowski. He was smaller than the other guys, but apparently a bit stronger. He cinched his fifth straight win in a row by pulling an 88,000 lb C-130 the fastest of the 10 finalists. Winning the Atlas Stone event was icing on the cake.
Second place went to Derek Poundstone (shown during an Atlas Stone challenge). His comment on coming in second? "I have 365 days to have nightmares about this before I try to win again next year."
Of all the finalists, there was one Polish man, one Norse man, one Estonian guy, a German and everyone else was from the USA. We seem to have the corner on really big (over 6 feet, over 300 lbs) lumpy white guys who come really, really close.
When it ended, I changed the channel to my real favorite athletic program, Ninja Warrior on G4. This is a different kind of athleticism. The competition is an intense obstacle course. These people are strong, but also wiry, agile and graceful. There are "All-Stars" who are regulars. 60 year old Octopus man, the Gas Station Manager, the Fireman, the brothers who are professional trampoline artists... And of course, Japan's hottest transvestite athlete: