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2021 International King Kong Grip Challenge


Eric Roussin
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Three more venues have been added. Gil Goodman, Joel Dircks, and Thomas Larsen will return to host King Kong once again in Brentwood, TN, Woodbruy, MN, and Norway!

With the contest less than five months away, we're already up to 19 venues with potential for even more...

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I was just wondering why there aren't any women light weight classes in King Kong? There are many competitors under 57kg (last year) and them competing in the same class with 72kg isn't fair. The fact that there aren't proper class for them to compete won't even motivate them to enter the competition. Same problem also comes up in youth division. Actually it's a bit worse even. In juniors there can be a 40kg girl competing against a 80kg girl. I would say that is not fair. Young people are the future for the sport so we shouldn't kill their motivation by making it impossible for them to succeed in competitions. 

These are main reasons why small women don't compete and then we are in the same situation again next year, "because there weren't any light weight competing last year". If we would remove the junior classes from 8 and up and add the smaller weight classes for women, we would get much more women competing.

Also it would be fare to have Masters division for Women.

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The weights for all classes exist behind the scenes for the purposes of records, but it doesn't make practical sense to have a division for each and every class because many of them have 1 or 0 competitors. It is a little silly to give someone a first place trophy for beating nobody. 

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15 hours ago, Henna N said:

I was just wondering why there aren't any women light weight classes in King Kong? There are many competitors under 57kg (last year) and them competing in the same class with 72kg isn't fair. The fact that there aren't proper class for them to compete won't even motivate them to enter the competition. Same problem also comes up in youth division. Actually it's a bit worse even. In juniors there can be a 40kg girl competing against a 80kg girl. I would say that is not fair. Young people are the future for the sport so we shouldn't kill their motivation by making it impossible for them to succeed in competitions. 

These are main reasons why small women don't compete and then we are in the same situation again next year, "because there weren't any light weight competing last year". If we would remove the junior classes from 8 and up and add the smaller weight classes for women, we would get much more women competing.

Also it would be fare to have Masters division for Women.

In 2019 we included a 57 kg class for women as well as a masters class. There were no entries in the 57 kg class and a single entry in the masters class. We couldn’t justify including these classes in 2020, but we did add a 100 kg class.

We’ll review the numbers again following this year’s contest, and a lighter weight women’s class may be added in the future, but not this year.

Participation in the junior classes is still very limited, however these classes may see changes, too, some time down the line.

The important thing is to keep participating even if you’re ideal weight class isn’t offered. This way we’ll be able to see that the demand is there.

Anyone who feels strongly about this issue is encouraged to contact me directly to discuss sponsorship opportunities. The reason these additional classes were offered in 2019 was because someone offered to pay for all of the awards for them including the costs to ship the awards around the world. It’s not cheap, but if someone really wants to see this happen, it’s not impossible.

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On 7/24/2021 at 7:43 AM, Eric Roussin said:

In 2019 we included a 57 kg class for women as well as a masters class. There were no entries in the 57 kg class and a single entry in the masters class. We couldn’t justify including these classes in 2020, but we did add a 100 kg class.

We’ll review the numbers again following this year’s contest, and a lighter weight women’s class may be added in the future, but not this year.

Participation in the junior classes is still very limited, however these classes may see changes, too, some time down the line.

The important thing is to keep participating even if you’re ideal weight class isn’t offered. This way we’ll be able to see that the demand is there.

Anyone who feels strongly about this issue is encouraged to contact me directly to discuss sponsorship opportunities. The reason these additional classes were offered in 2019 was because someone offered to pay for all of the awards for them including the costs to ship the awards around the world. It’s not cheap, but if someone really wants to see this happen, it’s not impossible.

Why you base your numbers from two years ago? Last year (2020) there were many competitors under 57kg participating in the 72 class. Enough of them to be in their own class. The fee to enter the competition is high for many people especially after covid has affected people's income. Why would they enter in the hopes of having their own class maybe some year and have no chance to succeed this year? You yourself said that junior participation is limited. So if you remove 4 class of them for both girls and boys, and add the lower classes for women, you actually have less classes to get awards for. So saying you can’t afford it is kinda moot. How does it differ to give a trophy for a regular class with 1 participant and a junior class with the same participation number?

All I see is that the competition favours heavier lifters and more so men than women. There are more and more women lifters each year and if you always make moves based on 2-year-old data, eventually you will lose those people from the whole sport.

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23 minutes ago, Henna N said:

Why you base your numbers from two years ago? Last year (2020) there were many competitors under 57kg participating in the 72 class. Enough of them to be in their own class. The fee to enter the competition is high for many people especially after covid has affected people's income. Why would they enter in the hopes of having their own class maybe some year and have no chance to succeed this year? You yourself said that junior participation is limited. So if you remove 4 class of them for both girls and boys, and add the lower classes for women, you actually have less classes to get awards for. So saying you can’t afford it is kinda moot. How does it differ to give a trophy for a regular class with 1 participant and a junior class with the same participation number?

All I see is that the competition favours heavier lifters and more so men than women. There are more and more women lifters each year and if you always make moves based on 2-year-old data, eventually you will lose those people from the whole sport.

The cost to purchase and ship the awards for the junior division (small medals) is significantly lower than the cost to purchase and ship the awards for the open classes (custom sculptures and large medals). So much so that we don’t even charge an entry fee for junior competitors. 
 

There were indeed more competitors under 57 kg last year, I simply don’t consider the number high enough to warrant adding a class. 
 

The main obstacle is the cost. I’m open to discussing sponsorship opportunities for this class (via email - eroussin@rogers.com) with anyone who is seriously interested.

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55 minutes ago, Eric Roussin said:

The main obstacle is the cost. I’m open to discussing sponsorship opportunities for this class (via email - eroussin@rogers.com) with anyone who is seriously interested.

I understood the initial question and you answered it, but it's a little annoying that the person complaining is now insinuating that you are disingenuous in explaining that you can't pay for trophies unless someone wants to sponsor them - does she expect you to pay for them yourself?  Or does she think that you, who do all the work, don't know what you are talking about?  I don't know if she realizes there would be no sport at all without your unpaid efforts to further it.  You are more gracious than I am.  Thank you for all the work you do, as grip sport has made my life much, much better than before I discovered it.

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14 minutes ago, Vinnie said:

I understood the initial question and you answered it, but it's a little annoying that the person complaining is now insinuating that you are disingenuous in explaining that you can't pay for trophies unless someone wants to sponsor them - does she expect you to pay for them yourself?  Or does she think that you, who do all the work, don't know what you are talking about?  I don't know if she realizes there would be no sport at all without your unpaid efforts to further it.  You are more gracious than I am.  Thank you for all the work you do, as grip sport has made my life much, much better than before I discovered it.

I do not expect him to pay it himself. That's why there is an entry fee. It's supposed to cover the cost of the event.

I am only trying to get more women to enjoy the sport as you do and motivate more young girls to keep on training. I bet a lot of young girls don't want to put their hard worked money into a competition where they have no chance of getting any prizes or recognition other than maybe their name on some list on the internet.

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1 hour ago, Vinnie said:

I understood the initial question and you answered it, but it's a little annoying that the person complaining is now insinuating that you are disingenuous in explaining that you can't pay for trophies unless someone wants to sponsor them - does she expect you to pay for them yourself?  Or does she think that you, who do all the work, don't know what you are talking about?  I don't know if she realizes there would be no sport at all without your unpaid efforts to further it.  You are more gracious than I am.  Thank you for all the work you do, as grip sport has made my life much, much better than before I discovered it.

Vinnie, indeed - even of those people who spent some time on GB, very few of them know that Eric and Andrew pull KK on their own, paying a lot from their own pockets, and receiving nothing but pleasure in return. But you have to see other side too. On the other side, there is a truth - the question of female categories has been standing for a long time. Perhaps when KK started, the only answer was that there were few female categories because there were few female participants. And now - there is at least an equivalent answer that there are few of them, because it is difficult for promoters to agitate newcomers to participate without a chance for a medal and a place. Or do you think that many 52-57kg women can win in 72 categories? ... For me the medal means nothing, I have passed the stage of numismatics in my development, but as a promoter I will say - many of those who are now performing for the sake of the result have started with performances for a medal. And many talented people quit this sport without receiving a material assessment of their efforts in the form of a medal ... In general, this conversation has no basis. Eric said everything right - there will be sponsors (and money) - there will be categories. Everything is closed on this. But I repeat - the person who asked the question did not deserve any censure. There is truth in the question and its rationale (and in the fact that for many, 10 dollars is not little. Now in the summer, I have to work for several days sometimes to earn them.) Therefore, it would be better to answer the questioner correctly, explain all the nuances, and not sink to the level of "don't bother with stupid questions to big men" .. 
 

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1 hour ago, Henna N said:

I do not expect him to pay it himself. That's why there is an entry fee. It's supposed to cover the cost of the event.

I am only trying to get more women to enjoy the sport as you do and motivate more young girls to keep on training. I bet a lot of young girls don't want to put their hard worked money into a competition where they have no chance of getting any prizes or recognition other than maybe their name on some list on the internet.

The fees don't cover everything. And the organizers pay for a lot out of their own pocket. Both Eric and Andrew and the promoters in the field. Last year I invested about $ 200, not counting the purchase of inventory. How much the organizers spent - I don’t want to think about that at all.... 

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17 minutes ago, Henna N said:

I do not expect him to pay it himself. That's why there is an entry fee. It's supposed to cover the cost of the event.

I am only trying to get more women to enjoy the sport as you do and motivate more young girls to keep on training. I bet a lot of young girls don't want to put their hard worked money into a competition where they have no chance of getting any prizes or recognition other than maybe their name on some list on the internet.

There are no grip competitors who do it for prizes or recognition, because nobody in their right mind would choose to focus their efforts on one of the smallest niche sports in existence to get famous amongst a dozen people. 

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48 minutes ago, Henna N said:

I do not expect him to pay it himself. That's why there is an entry fee. It's supposed to cover the cost of the event.

I am only trying to get more women to enjoy the sport as you do and motivate more young girls to keep on training. I bet a lot of young girls don't want to put their hard worked money into a competition where they have no chance of getting any prizes or recognition other than maybe their name on some list on the internet.

That’s about all one can expect out of grip... is your name on a list on the internet. Not much else besides that. Most people do grip for themselves and a medal and a trophy is a bonus.

Edited by Joe Sullivan
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1 hour ago, Climber028 said:

There are no grip competitors who do it for prizes or recognition, because nobody in their right mind would choose to focus their efforts on one of the smallest niche sports in existence to get famous amongst a dozen people. 

Obviously, I will reveal the secret not only to you, but also to some others. For a beginner (with experience in other sports or not), a medal is a confirmation and assessment of the level of his performance and the level of his physical capabilities.

Just get down from your peaks. And if you are so old dinosaurs that you do not remember yourself at the beginning - do not project your opinion, and the vision of the world, to others. 

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1 hour ago, Ivan Pupchenko said:

Vinnie, indeed - even of those people who spent some time on GB, very few of them know that Eric and Andrew pull KK on their own, paying a lot from their own pockets, and receiving nothing but pleasure in return. But you have to see other side too. On the other side, there is a truth - the question of female categories has been standing for a long time. Perhaps when KK started, the only answer was that there were few female categories because there were few female participants. And now - there is at least an equivalent answer that there are few of them, because it is difficult for promoters to agitate newcomers to participate without a chance for a medal and a place. Or do you think that many 52-57kg women can win in 72 categories? ... For me the medal means nothing, I have passed the stage of numismatics in my development, but as a promoter I will say - many of those who are now performing for the sake of the result have started with performances for a medal. And many talented people quit this sport without receiving a material assessment of their efforts in the form of a medal ... In general, this conversation has no basis. Eric said everything right - there will be sponsors (and money) - there will be categories. Everything is closed on this. But I repeat - the person who asked the question did not deserve any censure. There is truth in the question and its rationale (and in the fact that for many, 10 dollars is not little. Now in the summer, I have to work for several days sometimes to earn them.) Therefore, it would be better to answer the questioner correctly, explain all the nuances, and not sink to the level of "don't bother with stupid questions to big men" .. 
 

I wasn't angry at the first question, and I don't object to trying to get women involved.  But calling out Eric publicly -- AFTER he answered the question, and saying his answer wasn't satisfactory -- called for the response that is not inconsistent with yours:  Eric does quite a lot more for the sport than most anyone else, most likely already contributes his own money, and would be happy to accept donations from sponsors to enable the changes that this person is asking him to make.  Which is what he said the first time, which seemed not to be good enough.  I don't begrudge her the chance to compete and to earn a medal.  I think I would have messaged Eric directly if I did not like his first answer, because it struck me as unfair to him the way it read.  I understand one cannot hear tone in a writing.  Perhaps she did not mean it as critically as it sounded.  Apologies if I offended.

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44 minutes ago, Ivan Pupchenko said:

Obviously, I will reveal the secret not only to you, but also to some others. For a beginner (with experience in other sports or not), a medal is a confirmation and assessment of the level of his performance and the level of his physical capabilities.

Just get down from your peaks. And if you are so old dinosaurs that you do not remember yourself at the beginning - do not project your opinion, and the vision of the world, to others. 

Not saying prizes are meaningless, just that if someone values prizes and recognition then this is probably one of the worst "sports" to choose since most don't even know it exists. 

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31 minutes ago, Ivan Pupchenko said:

Obviously, I will reveal the secret not only to you, but also to some others. For a beginner (with experience in other sports or not), a medal is a confirmation and assessment of the level of his performance and the level of his physical capabilities.

Just get down from your peaks. And if you are so old dinosaurs that you do not remember yourself at the beginning - do not project your opinion, and the vision of the world, to others. 

Also, for record-keeping purposes, I believe that the weight classes for women DO exist, so the stats are kept, and the medals can come whenever the money for them is available but competitors should still feel like their performances are "official" and available for comparison.  So I feel bad if people who would otherwise like to compete will not do so because there is no chance for a medal or other prize.  I have gone to several competitions, including Gripmas 2020 in Shelton, Connecticut, where there were no weight classes because the competition was small, so I was competing against Jedd Johnson, Chez Ricchezza, and Tim Butler and a few other people who I had no chance to beat.  I came in third to last, even though I was first among the three lightest, and may well have set an 83kg weight class record in one event (242 on a baseline dynamometer - I don't think it is a statistic that is kept, but Chez got 280 and I don't think it is competed too often, so I would be surprised if an 83kg competitor has gotten over 242 in comp).  The year before also at Gripmas, I set a TNS gripper close record for 83kg and I think even for 93kg, but got no medal because there were no weight classes at the small comp.  But medal or not, my name is on the board and I am proud of these performances.  I'm not saying it is a bad idea to see about getting more weight classes and more medals, but I agree with Eric that in the meantime, if sponsors have not yet stepped up, interested competitors should still consider their participation worthwhile and their performances will be on record, thereby motivating others to come next time to break that record!

Note that, if I am able, I would consider contributing a small sum towards purchasing additional trophies so that weight classes can be added.  I don't know how much trophies cost, and I would need to think about how much I could contribute -- I am sure I can't cover enough, so there would have to be others contributing also -- but I do understand the desire to add these classes and am in favor of it when it can be done.

 

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2 hours ago, Ivan Pupchenko said:

Therefore, it would be better to answer the questioner correctly, explain all the nuances, and not sink to the level of "don't bother with stupid questions to big men"

As noted elsewhere, Eric did answer the question the first time, and it was the apparent tone of her response that seemed to me a bit unfair.  I do apologize if I misread the tone.  My tone might also have sounded too harsh.

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I'm just trying to give different kind of options to solve this 'problem'. I know it's not easy to organize big events. I have done many of them in other sports so I have some idea what goes on behind the scenes.

Maybe it would be a good idea to make a poll to see how many woman would participate if the weight classes would happen. I know for a fact at least two in our venue will not take part with current weight classes. More participants means more income. Also would it make a difference to raise the entry fee to $12? Would that cover the cost for extra trophies.

You need to take in consideration, that the venues take extra cost for entry because they have bought the needed equipment. So for us it's around $30-$35 to participate.

Last year there was 9 under 63kg women. That's more than in the 100+ class. So how many is enough to make the class?

I would still like to stress in juniors over age 14 the weight difference can be up to 20kg to 40kg, which can mean 50-100% difference in participants weight, inside the same age group. Most youngsters want the recognition for their efforts to keep the interest up in the sports.

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16 minutes ago, Henna N said:

I'm just trying to give different kind of options to solve this 'problem'. I know it's not easy to organize big events. I have done many of them in other sports so I have some idea what goes on behind the scenes.

Maybe it would be a good idea to make a poll to see how many woman would participate if the weight classes would happen. I know for a fact at least two in our venue will not take part with current weight classes. More participants means more income. Also would it make a difference to raise the entry fee to $12? Would that cover the cost for extra trophies.

You need to take in consideration, that the venues take extra cost for entry because they have bought the needed equipment. So for us it's around $30-$35 to participate.

Last year there was 9 under 63kg women. That's more than in the 100+ class. So how many is enough to make the class?

I would still like to stress in juniors over age 14 the weight difference can be up to 20kg to 40kg, which can mean 50-100% difference in participants weight, inside the same age group. Most youngsters want the recognition for their efforts to keep the interest up in the sports.

Raising the entry fee by $2 for everyone would indeed cover the extra cost of purchasing and shipping the awards, but it's not something I want to do at this point. This being an international contest, the impact of such an increase varies significantly depending on the location. 

I can assure you that we'll take a close look at the numbers from this year's contest and re-evaluate the class distribution going forward. If there is clear interest among the lighter weight women, and if overall contest turnout is strong, a class may indeed be added without even there being a need for additional sponsorship. Our goal is always just to try to break even. I would hope that the lighter women who competed in the 2020 contest, with full knowledge that the lightest class was 72 kg, would choose to compete again this year.

I don't give online polls much weight. I also organize tournaments in other sports. Using Facebook as as example, in my experience only about a third of those who indicate that they will be "attending" an event actually end up doing so.

Junior classes in any sport is very tricky. What should count for more? Age or weight? The reality is that they are both important factors, and I don't want to start creating dozens of different classes that end up having only one or two competitors each. The Junior division is a free add-on division to King Kong -- it's one of the few contests where kids compete, for free, with other kids around the world. I want to keep things simple for now.

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11 hours ago, Vinnie said:

 

 

You say everything right, Vinnie! In fact, it is difficult to judge emotions that writer puts into words in written text. I also would not want you to think that I was trying to express any negative or claims to you. You just look at the problem from the height of your life experience. I think about this exactly the same as you, and I compete, like you, not for medals. If my medal were only one sent by Eric to Ukraine, I would refuse it. The place in the "list somewhere on the Internet" is enough for me! But I just do not want people to forget that for beginners and young people (and possibly for some "adult" people, with some kind of delays or deviations in personality development)these material proofs of the value of their efforts are very important. And considering that the future is not for us (unfortunately) but for them - the current beginners and tomorrow's grip masters, we must think about how to attract to this sport and keep in it maximum number of new talents! .. 
Today I talked a lot with different people about this (about medals and possible sponsorship). I will continue these consultations over the next few days, and maybe, and I hope, together we can come up with something about this ... 

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12 hours ago, Climber028 said:

There are no grip competitors who do it for prizes or recognition, because nobody in their right mind would choose to focus their efforts on one of the smallest niche sports in existence to get famous amongst a dozen people. 

Eh, I welcome competitors whatever their motivation. Also, don't be too sure - you might be talking to one. Nothing wrong with entering a contest because you think you can beat your peers, regardless of how small that number is. 

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18 hours ago, DAVE101 said:

Eh, I welcome competitors whatever their motivation. Also, don't be too sure - you might be talking to one. Nothing wrong with entering a contest because you think you can beat your peers, regardless of how small that number is. 

He’s obviously never been to the Arnold Classic and seen the tens of thousands of men & women who show up to play their nitche sports, or the hundreds of thousands who stroll by watching. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

VENUE ADDED: Once again, Riccardo Magni and Odd Haugen will be hosting a King Kong venue in Southern California (Newbury Park)!

Additional venues are still being confirmed. :)

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VENUE ADDED: Lorna Paton will be hosting a King Kong venue in London, England!

Currently up to 21 venues!

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  • 2 weeks later...

VENUE ADDED: Nick Carignan will be hosting a King Kong venue in London, Ontario, Canada!

22 venues and counting!

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