- Title: RUSSIA: Russians gather to compete in "strong man" contest
- Date: 15th October 2004
- Summary: JUDGES CONTESTANTS HOLDING PRIZE CERTIFICATES
- Embargoed: 30th October 2004 13:00
- Location: MOSCOW, RUSSIA
- Country: Russia
- Topics: Quirky,Light / Amusing / Unusual / Quirky
- Reuters ID: LVA3WVR5XU9HHEAO8IL52X4ZHPRE
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- Story Text: A group of Russians gathered in Moscow this Saturday (October 9) to vie for the title of "Strong Man."
A group of Russians gathered in Moscow on Saturday (October 9) to vie for the title of "Strong Man" with shows of muscle and mutilation.
The contestants have different disciplines and training, but were intent on proving to a jury made up of local celebrities and parliament deputies that their feat made them the strongest.
Vagan Sarkisyan set high standards for the opening by setting hooks into the flesh of his arm and using them to lift up weights. Twenty-four kilograms skewered into one arm. Seventy-two kilograms skewered into both arms.
Not to be outdone was the dashing Mukhter Gandzhiev who contorted his body backwards and into itself.
But if the strong should also be gallant, there is Omar Khandzhiev as an example, lifting a woman in a chair by his teeth.
Organisers said they had gathered the best of the best, but it did seem that there was a special emphasis on the painful.
The performer Anvar chose meat skewers and long-blade swords to show his mettle.
Judges verified for themselves that the blades were sharp, cold steel.
Behind each performance are years of practice. Many of the contestants began experimenting in childhood.
Barmen Sergei Gripkov seems to have a lot of down time at his work.
But top prize went to Bruce Khlebnikov. Named in honour of Bruce Lee, the 14-year-old long-haired wonder tore up phone books with his bare hands, balanced women on his knees, and supported a very fat man on his stomach.
Khlebnikov began walking on glass when he was three-years-old, according to his family. He lists his previous feats as pulling an airplane, pulling a tram with his hair, holding up two cars simultaneously, and tugging a 105 tonne barge.
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