SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — As the World’s Strongest Man competition kicked off in Old Sacramento, contestants felt the heat from both their rivals and the weather.
“We prepare, but we’re big guys and I’ve never been able to handle the heat well,” said Martins Licis, winner of the 2019 World’s Strongest Man competition.
While Licis is not competing this year, he said events like pulling a train and lifting 700 pounds is always a challenge, especially with triple-digit heat in the forecast.
“It’s always brutal,” Licis explained. “You got to do what you can to stay cool, ice packs, go inside as much as possible. It’s never easy.”
Event organizers say they’re making sure the 25 competitors will stay safe during this year’s event.
“Water hydration is key, making sure that’s always available to our athletes. Making sure our medical is right on site for them. Keeping them nice and cool,” explained Rebecca Levin, vice president of IMG Media.
Between competitions, crews were working to keep equipment cool by placing tarps over lift bars and weights.
“These are the strongest men in the world,” Levin said. “They were telling me that they were training at home with their AC units off to get the gyms as hot as possible so that they could mentally and physically prepare for the heat out here.”
Fans of the competition who were able to get tickets to limited-capacity seating were also out in the sun, which was another group event organizers had to work to keep cool.
“Bathrooms and water are available for our fans as well,” Levin said. “So, everything that we can do to make sure that this is safe for fans, crew, athletes, you know, it is a hot one.”
Competitors said they are happy that spectators who are willing to brave the heat are allowed to attend the competition.
Licis said Sacramento’s heat is far from the worse environment the competition has been to, saying the weather is more bearable due to it being a dry heat.
“Been to the Philippines, that was probably the most brutal I’ve ever experienced in the heat. It was so humid,” Licis recalled.
Licis said the heat will help ensure only the strongest man prevails.
“You’ve got to be well-rounded and a jack of all trades to win the show,” Licis said.
The competition runs through Sunday, with many of the events set to occur during even hotter temperatures.