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Barrier breaking, lamp launching and keg tossing would make Jefferson proud

If you're a sports fanatic, it's probably happened to you. You've been up one night, watching the late SportsCenter, and intending to get some work done right after the always-informative "Did You Know?" segment. Then, right when the show ends, the phenomenon appears.

The World's Strongest Man Competition begins, and you end up wasting the next hour watching über-muscled, no-necked, chalk-covered specimens from places like Finland and New Zealand carry around 400-pound rocks, lift cars and perform other bizarre feats of strength.

While I could tell you about my personal favorite strongman, four-time champion Magnus Ver Magnusson, I couldn't really explain why the World's Strongest Man Competition fascinates me.

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  • But I don't think I'm alone. And, since the University likes to help set trends, I think Virginia should enter the vastly unexplored market of Strongest Man Competitions. The entrants could come from any one of our many athletic teams - or from that group of huge dudes you see lurking around Slaughter and the Aquatic & Fitness Center at all hours.

    To help, I've come up with a short list of possible events:

    The Central Grounds Barrier Snap

    See Charlottesville's strongest make like a speeding car! Each combatant would take on the task of breaking one of those red and white barriers that have a tendency to be destroyed more quickly than Cincinnati running back Ki-Jana Carter's perennially tender knees. Whether they decide to try to rip it apart with their bare hands or break it in a running charge, whoever snaps his barrier in the shortest amount of time wins.

    The Halogen Lamp Javelin Throw

    For all those people too lazy to buy a screen for their halogen lamp, this provides a cheap, easy and really cool way to dispose of these now unneeded fixtures. Competing in this event on the Lawn, each hopeful Hercules would chuck his halogen lamp as far down the Lawn as possible. Distance would be recorded from the final resting place of the majority of the body of the lamp. Contestants would be encouraged to get the lamp to bounce.

    The Cinder Block Stair Climb

    Almost every student at Virginia has either lived on the top floor of some local dorm or apartment building or knows someone who has. Toting at least one cinder block up those endless flights of stairs will leave you drenched in sweat. Competing at some pre-selected lofty residence - maybe Gooch-Dillard - each strongman would have five minutes to get as many cinder blocks inside the suite as possible.

    If the competition should take place in cooler temperatures, gigantic heaters would be installed to simulate the hellish temperatures of Charlottesville in late August.

    The Keg Toss

    The one event from the World's Strongest Man Competition that rings true for a college crowd. Standing on the train tracks that run under Beta Bridge, each competitor would stand with his back to the bridge and have three tries to throw a keg onto the often-painted structure.

    So there you have it: my vision for the first-ever Charlottesville's Strongest Man Competition. Whether or not it comes to pass, I'm sure that, if given a chance, it would become another University tradition.

    Rest assured, if Mr. Jefferson were alive today, he'd be more than ready to try to throw a keg onto Beta Bridge. If he couldn't, he'd be more than ready to get out of the way before the keg hit him in the head.