Strongman competitions are pretty damn impressive. The huge men and women hone their skills over years in order to be able to move amazing amounts of mass over and over, at speed. Events like Truck Pulling or Keg Tossing are just insane and most of us would put our backs out trying to generate the amount of force and torque required to do them. But it doesn’t always go right and the dangers of some events hit home as they did in the clip below.
Craig Bongelli is lucky to be alive after competing in one of the most gruelling events in the Bavarian Strongman Competition at Oktoberfest a few years back. The 22-year-old got himself into a precarious position when undertaking the Atlas Stones. The event involves picking up increasingly large and heavy boulders from the ground and hoicking them up to platforms at heights.
In some competitions, there is also a catch that the heavier the stone is, the higher the platform making it more and more awkward as the contestant makes his way through the event. Strongman competitors need to use a combination of brute strength and technique to get their fingers underneath the tone and half-deadlift, half-roll the stone up their body to their chests, then lean back and place the stone on the platform. The whole set of movements is awkward and uncomfortable
Bongelli was on his final stone, a whopping 360lb (160kg) hunk of concrete and was doing well to get it from the ground to chest height. Many had failed before at this weight, but Bongelli was in the running to win the event. But the Canadian ran into trouble as he tired, leaning back to get the stone up onto the lip of the ledge, he all of a sudden toppled backwards falling to the deck. Gravity kicked in, with the stone coming straight down after him, landing smack bang on his chest.
The shocked crowd gasp, thinking that the poor guy’s chest cavity is caved in, but remarkably he walked away from the event in 4th place, coming third overall in the competition and only picking up minor bruising and a few scratches. Bongelli said: “I felt super uncomfortable. I knew everything was straining to a fairly large degree. But all I was thinking in my head was that I could feel the ledge. And the only thing I was thinking was one more inch.”