Some of the world’s strongest men are coming to Gimli this weekend.
The Icelandic Festival of Manitoba in Gimli — Islendingadagurinn to Icelanders — is back for its first in-person festival following a two-year pandemic hiatus, and they’re coming back stronger than ever.
The festival is partnering with four-time World’s Strongest Man champion Magnús Ver Magnússon to hold a world-class strongman event showcasing traditional Icelandic feats of strength.
The festival says professional strongmen from around the world will be taking part in the competition using natural elements like stones, trees and Icelandic and Viking-inspired implements.
“This weekend, you’ll see giant log lifts. You’ll see stone loading. You’ll see the Viking ships pulled,” Ver Magnússon tells 680 CJOB’s The Start.
“It’s fitting to the old-time strong man. Basically how it was — the toughest and strongest survived.”
Ver Magnússon said the two-day event will also see competitors throwing increasingly heavier sandbags, lifting stones and logs — one he says is “the biggest log in Canada — and doing deadlifts with weights he describes as “similar to the Flintstones.”
“It is going to be an amazing show and a lot of fun,” he said.
The competition, dubbed Magnús Ver Magnússon Classic Gimli, will see the winner invited to the Magnús Ver Magnússon Classic Iceland in November which acts as a qualifier for a spot to square off with the best of the best at the World’s Strongest Man Competition.
The World’s Strongest Man Competition was started in 1977 and every year sees 25 athletes figure out, well, who the world’s strongest man is by squatting and lifting hundreds of pounds worth of ridiculously heavy things.
“I have always looked at this, you know, of the strongman of the world (competition) as strength athletics,” explains Ver Magnússon, who won the world’s championship in 1991, 1994, 1995, and 1996.
“So you’re not just strong, you have to be athletic as well.”
The Magnús Ver Magnússon Classic Gimli runs Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. during the annual festival.