Ever wondered what it takes to be the World's Strongest Man?
Strength is a big part, obviously, but according to the man who holds the title, you also need a good imagination.
Tom Stoltman, from Invergordon, Scotland, first became the World's Strongest Man in 2021 before returning last year to defend his crown by winning for a second time.
Stoltman is the 10th person in history to win at least two World's Strongest Man titles, and he has absolutely no intention of slowing down any time soon.
Speaking to Bar Bend last year, the muscle man expressed his hopes of tying with Mariusz Pudzianowski, who holds the record for winning five World's Strongest Man titles.
"That’s the goal for myself, is to even better that, but like I said, winning two in a lifetime’s unbelievable," Stoltman said last year.
"I think if you asked 90 percent of the strongmen who I competed with, to win one World’s Strongest Man title, they’d be happy with that. So winning two for myself is unbelievable. But let’s do five or six, maybe even seven… who knows?"
Stoltman is now hoping to hold on to his title for another year as the 2023 competition gets underway today (19 April) in South Carolina, where there will be two days of qualifying rounds before the final this weekend.
Part of the competition sees the contestants lift the Atlas Stones; five spheres that increase in weight from 100 to 160 kg and which are placed on five high platforms.
The stones have only got heavier as the years have gone on, so Stoltman has had to use his imagination to make sure he can muster the strength to lift them.
Explaining his secret behind getting them off the platforms, Stoltman explained that he thinks about a relative being stuck beneath one of the boulders and needing to be rescued.
"If I don’t get them out they die," Stoltman explained, per The Sun.
You might not think of someone imagining your near-death to be a compliment, but Stoltman has somehow managed to turn it into one by assigned certain loved ones to certain stones so he can muster all of his strength and ensure they continue living.
“So the heaviest stone is always my wife," he said. "The first stone is my dad. Second one my sister, third one my sister, fourth one my brother."
Coverage of the 2023 competition will be shown from 28 May on CBS Sports Network and CBS Television Network.Featured Image Credit: World's Strongest Man/Tom Stoltman/YouTube