This Old Man

Vilnius old man

At some point during the World Log Lift Championships last weekend, I noticed this old man. He was slightly stooped, had an awesome hat, carries a bag full of branches and has an epic beard.

He made his way over to Big Z for a pic where things got a little dramatic. Of course he didn’t realize (or did and didn’t care) that these big Strongman were smack dab in the middle of a live television sporting event where they wanted to do well. So when he walked up to Z and grabbed him for a picture, a few event organizers removed his hands and told him he can’t do this now. Well, Lithuanian old men don’t like to be manhandled and instantly started yelling.

The helpers calmed him down, I assume explained that Z was a bit busy now but can get his picture after the event and that seemed to appease him. He then turned his attention to Polish Champions League leader Krzysztof Randzikowski, demanding a picture with him. Now, I may be getting the timing slightly off but I believe Krzysztof had just come off the platform after making his lift so he was a bit tired. The old man gave him one of his branches and then wanted a picture together. He took off his glasses, his hat, smoothed his hair down and they got the photo. Afterwards, he struggled with putting his hat back on while Krzysztof had began to focus on his last attempt. The old man slapped him on the shoulder and told him to help him with his hat. It. Was. Priceless.

Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of that, just the Polish half grin afterwards…

Kudos to the patience and sense of humor of the Polish.

When we asked the old man after the event was done if I could take a picture of he and Matt, he nodded yes and walked over by the American flag. He motioned for Matt to take the flag and gave me his camera. I took the first shot, which I thought was ok, but after he looked at it he loudly “told” me (motions, grunts, a few foreign words) that it wasn’t what he wanted. I had to get the flag, Matt, and old man but nothing else. Zoom in! I was so nervous after my second shot that I’d get yelled at again but I seemed to do ok. He nodded and slightly smiled and shuffled on after patting Matt on the shoulder.

I thought that was the end of it when suddenly I turned around, and he was hanging with these guys…

…ballsy. I’ll give him that. Z got some branches too.

The locals said that this man tends to show up at different events and is just accepted in the ranks. He was a character for sure. Awesome.

Is that your father?

Ilkka to Bigg after the old man shuffled by.

Training Log

About tosabarbell

For training opportunities at tosabarbell, call or text Juli at 320-296-9313. e-mail to At tosabarbell, I build relationships cultivated in a strength and learning environment. There is no 12 week magic pill program to strength but rather a lifetime commitment to be the very best and most useful human you can be. tosabarbell is a private, home grown gym with three lifting platforms; squat rack; prowlers; throwing implements; bars, bumpers and everything else needed for an effective strength and conditioning program. Straightforward barbell programming including the Olympic lifts; sound (read: not fancy bullshit) diet advance for weight gain or loss; and strong coaching will ensure you will meet your goals such as becoming stronger, more explosive, and better conditioned. I have been coaching teams and athletes for over 30 years. I grew up participating in various sports at various levels but was always drawn to those that require strength training. I have multiple local, national, and world records in the sports of Weightlifting and Highland Games Heavy Events as well as a combined total of 5 World Championships. My 5 years of training and coaching under Mark Rippetoe provided a wide range of influence from some of the top strength & conditioning and throwing coaches in the country. I will strongly encourage tosabarbell athletes to compete (and prepare you to do so.) However, tosabarbell is also for those who wish to be stronger and go through life feeling better. Matt WanAt is a retired Professional Strongman who competed frequently with Strongman Champions League in Europe. He played a year of D1 football with Iowa before concentrating on his Chemical Engineering degree in Iowa City. He is a native of Wauwatosa and still remains a staunch supporter of Tosa East. This blog will be a mixture of strength notes, coaching and nutrition tips, personal shit; bacon delicacies, and a whole lot of fun.
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