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2019 September - Living Legends - Eric Roussin


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Eric Roussin

Living Legends was an amazing experience. I wasn’t able to attend the first Living Legends contest in 2016, but I’m very glad I didn’t miss this one. The amount of effort Andrew Pantke and his team put into organizing and running this event did not go unnoticed and it made for a fantastic contest. I liked everything about it.

Coming into this contest, my confidence was not very high. I hadn’t been training as much as usual over the past couple of months, and my last few training sessions were horrible. But to my surprise, my performance in the contest did not suffer. I think the adrenaline I get during a contest brings out the best in me.

The contest started off late Friday afternoon with the 20 mm block set grippers event. I didn’t hit a PR, but I did close the 155-lb gripper, which tied my best result on this particular set of grippers (the official GSI set). I was happy, because my ring finger had been bothering me for a few weeks, and I thought my crushing strength would be affected. The two guys who impressed me the most in this event were Aaron Corcorran with his monster close of 180, and Thomas Larsen because of the way he closed each gripper seemingly with minimal effort.

Next up was the double slim lever event. I was really interested in seeing how this event would play out, because it was new. In training, I had done a lot of single sledge slim levering, but very little training with two sledges. The event proved to be surprisingly difficult. I was successful with 22.5 lbs, but that’s as far as I got. I expected Luke and Jedd to be good at this event, based on the slim lever videos I had seen from them in the past. I was right – they had the best results (27.5 lbs).

The contest continued Saturday morning. First up was the 2 3/8” axle event. I usually do well with axles, but I didn’t know where I’d end up given my recent training results. But the bar felt good and I ended up lifting 374 lbs – good enough to tie Andrew Durniat. He came closer than me to getting 385 locked out, though.

I don’t know what happened in the 2” saxon bar event, but somehow I was able to lift a lot of weight with it. I own a saxon bar like the one used in the contest, but I haven’t been able to get it seasoned much. Consequently, the most I had ever lifted on it in training was just a bit more than 220 lbs. The saxon bar used at Living Legends felt much grippier to me, and to my surprise, I was able to lift 275 lbs with it! I didn’t understand what was going on. The only person to lift more was Jedd, who lifted a massive 297!

Next was the anvil event. Though I have a few anvils at home, this was my first time trying this particular device. It seemed that each time I went up to the platform, I grabbed it a different way. I couldn’t quite determine what was working best for me. Sometimes the weight came off the ground easily, with other times it was hard (regardless of the weight that was loaded). 209 came up quickly, but 220 stopped me dead in my tracks. It was awesome to watch Thomas and Luke go back and forth, as they are the two best in the world with this device.

By the time we got to the Inch medley, my confidence was back. I was thinking I might event be able to lift the 200 Inch bell, considering I was able to lift Luke’s 207 bell nearly completely at the North American Championships in June. But it was not to be. I was successful with the 180, but the 200 was just too heavy for me on this day. Jedd really impressed by lifting the 200 with ease, faster than Andrew D.

The last event was my worst: the Blob medley. I’ve lifted the Blob 50 on several occasions, but I cannot lift it consistently. But it didn’t really matter – I didn’t even get to attempt it. After a bit of struggle with the half-90, I couldn’t do much with the half-110. Jedd and Thomas were able to lift all of the blobs, with several seconds to spare.

I didn’t know where this left me in terms of overall scoring. I knew I was in 4th place for much of the contest, but I was wondering how far I had dropped after the Blob event. It turned that I had done just enough to secure my 4th place ranking. I was very pleased with this result. But Jedd’s overall performance stood out over all others. He won or tied for first in four of the seven events!

If you couldn’t make it out to Living Legends this year, be sure you don’t miss the next one!

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Mike Rinderle

Fantastic competing with you again Eric.  Always a blast.  Great job!

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Jedd Johnson

Always a pleasure competing with you, my friend, and your write-ups are always the first I read.  Great job at LL, brotherrrr!

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