Dave Ostlund's Venice Beach Writeup
Taken from Marunde Muscle
First off I just want to thank all my training partners, especially Karl Gillingham who has been a mentor to me for the last 3 years, my support staff that came with me, my father, wife, and the rest of my family. Without these people I wouldn't have been able to perform at the level I did on Saturday.
I arrived in LA on Friday morning with Karl and some of my friends and family. In the weeks leading up to this contest I had about the best training I could have hoped for and I was very fortunate not to get any little injuries that so often plague athletes before contests at this level of the sport.
We had the rules meeting at 8pm and there were a few minor changes to some of the events, nothing out of the ordinary. For those wondering, this is the section of scoring that we received via e-mail before the contest and then reviewed for 10-15 minutes at the meeting:
Timed Disciplines shall be scored by electronic timing whenever possible, and distances shall be measured by standard measuring tapes. The score in a Discipline shall be determined by placement and based on the number of Athletes starting in the first Discipline of the specific Grand Prix (i.e. if there are 14 Athletes starting, the winner of a Discipline receives 14 points, and 2nd place 13 points etc.). If an Athlete pass or fail to get a measurable result in a Discipline, he will receive zero (0) points (i.e. fails to get one repetition in a Discipline for maximum repetitions, fails to lift the opening weight in a max lift, etc.). The score for a placement shall be reduced to the number of participants in given discipline with the exception the last/final discipline that will have double points awarded. For example, if the score for 1st place is 14 points in the first Discipline, it will remain 14 points in subsequent Disciplines, but reduce to 10 in the 4th discipline and to 8 in the 5th discipline. In the final discipline the winner will receive 16 points (based on 8 participants), second place get 14 point, third gets 12 points etc.."
We were told this was to make the TV production more exciting. I made it clear that I disagreed with this scoring format and I still disagree with it. Anyways, the scoring stayed the same and I stopped worrying about it after the meeting since it was out of my hands. This is also the same scoring format that was used 2 months ago at the Mohegan Sun.
Went back to my room after the meeting and watched the movie 300 and went to bed. I must have woken up a half dozen times in a panic thinking I overslept, I was very nervous for this show.
First event was Farmer's Walk, 385/hand for 25 meters with multiple set-downs allowed. I was paired against Kevin and knew if I didn't perform at 100% he was going to make me look silly on this. I had so much adrenaline coursing through me that the pick-up felt like nothing. My speed felt great, but about halfway down my grip started getting questionable. I made it about 23 meters and had a set down. Kevin almost caught up to me and then had his first set-down. I thought I'll rest another couple seconds and go. Kevin picked his up again almost immediately and passed me. I finished 2 secs behind him. Got 3rd here which was good start. St. Clair was the only athlete to not drop these and he got the win here.
Press medley was next. My pressing has been my biggest weakness since I started this sport, but I have trained it very hard and it has come along quite a bit in the last year. The order I chose for this event was log, axle, rock, DB. The log was very easy, the axle wasn't too bad but the continental took alot out of me. I was really sucking wind when I got to the rock. The rock has always been a fairly easy press for me, but I barely got it and was actually quite lucky that Svend gave me a good lift. The judging for the rock was quite lenient, but I would not have counted my lift in training. In fact the only athlete who really lifted the rock well was Gillingham. I ran to the DB and had to take another 15-20sec of rest but made that as well. Ended 6th of 14 on this event. I am very happy with the progress I've made so far on this. I have to give credit to Matt Wanat since a lot of my press training comes from ideas he has given me.
Third event was 950lbs yoke for 20 meters. Not much to say on this except I was not at all pleased with my run. It felt very slow and uncoordinated. My split stance start didn't really give me a faster start like it usually does. I still ended up in 2nd somehow with a time of 15 seconds and change.
Tombstone carry was next. It was originally supposed to be for 40 meters with a turn at 20. It was changed to 25 meters with no turns. It turned out to be a perfect distance since only 30% of the field finished it. Coming into the contest I felt that along with yoke, I had the best chance of winning this event. The first strongman equipment I ever had were field stones and I've been training with rocks like this since I was 13 years old. This rock ended up being much harder than the rock I had been training with for the last 6 weeks. I finished the course in like 28 or 29 seconds I think without any drops. My hamstrings were completely locked up about halfway into it. For me this was the most brutal event of the day. I won the event beating Mariusz by about 5 sec. Karl also finished in just under a minute. I think Karl had to pick it up about 3 times, he refused to quit on it. It was very inspiring.
Fifth was deadlift/frame carry medley. Everybody made the axle, barbell, and fishing pole ok, but the frame really separated the men on this. It was an 880 lb frame for 10m. Of the 3 men who move in, Phillip went about 1 foot, Gillingham went 2 feet and Mariusz maybe went 3 or 4 feet. For many it never left the ground. I put up a fast time through the 3 deadlifts, rested and re-chalked for the frame. I picked it up nearly to lock out before it came out of my grip. I didn't have anything left for it and went back to the tent to re-group for the last event. For the athletes who moved the frame this might have been a harder event than the stone carry.
Going into the atlas stone I was 2 pts ahead of Jesse and was worried since the double score effectively only put me 1 pt ahead. Jesse and I have always gone back and forth with each other on stones and I knew he'd be on for this run. Jesse went in the heat before me and put up a sick time of 18 seconds. I was to go head to head with Mariusz in the last heat. Karl needed me to place ahead of Mark to lock up a 4th place finish for him. It was high pressure and I loved it! I one motioned the first three and then 4 went up very easy as did 5. I check the time with Svend and saw I had gone about 17.5 sec. I went over to cheer Mariusz on as he was uncharacteristically struggling with the fifth stone. He missed his first lift with it, but came back to make it on his second attempt. I walked off to the scoring tent to confirm that Karl had got 4th and locked up his spot for WSM. I was very happy that I knew I had got 2nd. Odd came to the tent and said he thought I might have got 1st, this was the first time that even crossed my mind. Sure enough, Mariusz ended up 5th on stones behind me, Jesse, Tarmo, and Mark. I was in shock since any thoughts of first had evaporated after the 5th event.
I know I don't even look happy in the picture of me on the podium, but I was in such shock I wasn't able to manage a smile.
Displeased would be an understatement to describe Mariusz's demeanor. He claimed he didn't know of the rule and he may not have. If he didn't know, then it was a failure of due diligence on his part. He competed at Mohegan in April where this scoring was used, he was e-mailed a copy of the rules on June 4th (I think I said 3 wks notice somewhere else, turned out to be 12 days. Still ample time though.), and he was at the rules meeting with a translator where we reviewed the scoring.
If he was never provided with this information then I would have felt rotten about taking 1st and would have gladly given him the 1st place trophy and the difference in 1st and 2nd place prize money. The way it happened though I don't feel bad about it and I am still strongly opposed to the scoring system we used. Also, to address any comments that this rule was made for the stones to give Jesse and I clear advantage over Mariusz, consider this: Out of the 10 times Mariusz and I have competed on stones together he has beat me 8 times and I have beat him twice (including this past weekend). I believe the results for Mariusz v. Jesse are similar.
I am very happy to be returning to WSM and am excited to start training. I am also very happy for Karl Gillingham. It was a fantastic day for team Minnesota. Jesse also cleared up any doubts of his health and has returned in fantastic shape.