Iceland – Katla

Viking Power

I’ve always been fascinated by the World’s Strongest Man competitions. Iceland, is home to two of the sport’s greatest icons, Jón Páll Sigmarsson and Magnús Ver Magnússon, who combined won the event eight times (four each), ranking Iceland at the top of the powerlifting game. Let’s take a look at these two hulking men and their contributions to strongman lore:

Jón Páll Sigmarsson

Born in Hafnarfjörður (just don’t ask the Sip Advisor to try and pronounce the word), Sigmarsson was the first to win the World’s Strongest Man event four times, doing so in a seven year span. His lowest finish in the tournament was third place in 1989. From humble beginnings, Sigmarsson’s legend grew as he participated in events around the world, including Scotland’s Highland Games.

Sigmarsson was a showman and loved to put on a performance. His charisma came through the TV screen with roars, shouting, and celebrations. During one event of the 1985 World’s Strongest Man, an audience member made the mistake of calling Sigmarrson an Eskimo, to which the powerlifter replied, “I am not an Eskimo, I am a Viking!” before snatching and seemingly with ease, lifting a 495kg cart.

Sigmarsson

Sadly, Sigmarsson passed away at the young age of 32, from a heart attack. He died doing what he loved, lifting, in his own gym, Jakaból (which means Giant’s Nest). While steroid use played a role in his death, there was also a heart defect that others in his family had suffered from. Sigmarsson was survived by a son, Sigmar, and I wonder if he ever followed in the footsteps of his dear ol’ dad?

A fascinating documentary was made on the life of Sigmarsson, titled Larger than Life. The Sip Advisor actually watched it en route to Iceland and it gave me a different perspective going into the country. Sigmarsson was enshrined in the World’s Strongest Man Hall of Fame in 2012, one of only three competitors to be selected thus far into the hallowed halls.

PIPES_grande

Magnús Ver Magnússon

Hailing from Egilsstaðir (again, I don’t even know where to begin with the pronunciation of this place name) and already owning one of the greatest villainous names in entertainment history, Ver Magnússon seemed like the perfect fit to take the torch from Sigmarsson and become the next great Icelandic strongman. Like Sigmarsson, Ver Magnússon travelled the world in his early years of lifting, winning competitions across the globe.

Equaling Sigmarsson’s achievement of four World Strongest Man titles (between 1991 and 1996), it should be noted that Ver Magnússon also ranked as the event’s runner-up in 1992 and 1993. That’s domination if I’ve ever seen it. The two Icelandic warriors are only surpassed by Mariusz Pudzianowski of Poland, who has five wins to his name.

magnusson

Ver Magnússon reached mass American audiences, not only with his World’s Strongest Man accolades, but with an appearance in a Coors Light commercial, as well as an appearance on The Daily Show, in 2008, where he showed off his still formidable strongman skills. There are rumours that Ver Magnússon has been trying to raise funds to film a movie about his life, titled ‘My Way.’

In the meantime, Ver Magnússon has gone on to own the Jakaból gym, replacing Sigmarsson, and training the next generation of Icelandic Vikings. One of his protégés is Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, nicknamed ‘Thor.’ Bjornsson recently appeared on Game of Thrones as the fearful Gregor Clegane, aka The Mountain. Ver Magnússon also judges strongman and powerlifting competitions internationally and remains a face of the sport.

Iceland: Katla

Katla Cocktail

  • 1 oz Brennivin
  • 0.5 oz Kahlua
  • Top with Club Soda
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Garnish with a Lemon Slice

I can’t even imagine lifting some of the items these two behemoths tossed over their shoulder or hurled through the air. Simarsson even set a Guinness World Records by lifting the largest whiskey bottle… that’s a feat the Sip Advisor can truly appreciate!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
Brennivin is also known as Black Death, which I don’t fully understand, given the spirit is clear and doesn’t taste bad at all. Icelanders might disagree with me on the taste experience, but I think I know my liquors. This cocktail is named after an active volcano in Iceland, but it will certainly not cause you to erupt and is actually quite nice.

December 30 – Iron Man Cocktail

We’re Going Streaking

As tomorrow marks the conclusion of the 365-day cocktail project, my efforts will be included with some of the greatest streaks known the world over. In fact, it’s probably the greatest compilation ever put together in human existence… and you little sippers were all a part of history. Here are some other notable runs.

Cal Ripken, Jr. – 2,632 Consecutive MLB games

While baseball lacks so many of the physical demands of other sports (hell, players spend more than half the game simply standing around and do so little that they can sometimes play two contests in one day), Cal Ripken, Jr.’s 2,632 straight games is still an amazing achievement. The streak started on May 30, 1982 and ended on Sept. 20, 1998, as the shortstop wanted to wrap it up on his own terms and avoid any controversy that may follow in the twilight of his career.

Cal-Ripken

Doug Jarvis – 964 Consecutive NHL games

To play that many successive games in one of the most physical sports on the planet is quite the impressive feat. When that streak spans your entire professional career (from 1975 to 1987), while winning four Stanley Cups, as well as the Selke Trophy (NHL’s top defensive forward) and Bill Masterton Trophy (awarded for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey) that makes the record that much sweeter.

Brett Favre – 297 Consecutive NFL Quarterback Starts

Given how rough and tumble professional football can be, it’s astonishing that Brett Favre was able to start 297 games in a row, all while sending pictures of his junk via cell phone to select female members of team staff. Okay, so some of Favre’s shine rubbed off (perhaps bad word choice) near the end of his career, but you can’t take away the guy’s grit and passion.

Joe Dimaggio – 56-Game Hit Streak

It has been written before that the hardest thing to do in professional sports is hit a fastball. While I vehemently disagree with that assertion, I do agree that there are unique skills required to be a pro ball player and Joe Dimaggio’s streak is pretty impressive because of this. Perhaps more notable, the dude married Marilyn Monroe… not too shabby!

Joe Dimaggio

Lance Armstrong – 7-Consecutive Tour de France Victories

While Lance Armstrong’s streak of victories has since been tainted by his steroid scandal, the man competed in a world rife with cheating and he still managed to win seven straight Tour de France titles. Armstrong’s celebrity also boosted funding for cancer treatments, so regardless of his name being sullied, he still did some great things for the world.

Wayne Gretzky – 51 Consecutive Game Point Streak

Wayne Gretzky is the most prolific scorer in NHL history, putting up so many records that will never be touched. Among those, is his 51-game point scoring streak in 1983-84. The Great One averaged 3 points per game during that run and had he sat out the rest of the season after the stretch was ended, he would have still won the scoring title by 27 points!

Byron Nelson – 11 Consecutive PGA Tour Wins

Today, you’re likely to see a different leader atop the PGA Tour each week. To win 11 straight in today’s golfing world is totally unfathomable. Not ever Tiger Woods in his prime came anywhere near touching that mark. Nelson won 18 of 30 tournaments in 1945 and 52 throughout his PGA career. He also added 12 wins on other professional circuits.

A.C. Green – 1,192 Consecutive NBA Games

I think I’m more impressed with the fact the deeply religious man waited until the age of 38 to finally lose his virginity. Now THAT’S an iron man streak! Green’s foundation promotes abstinence before marriage and he was finally wed in 2002, following his playing career, which lasted from 1985-2001, including three NBA Championships.

Drink #364: Iron Man Cocktail

Iron Man Cocktail Drink Recipe

  • 1.5 oz Amaretto (I used Disaronno)
  • 1 Shot of Orange Juice
  • Splash of Grenadine

So, what’s next for The Sip Advisor? You’ll have to stay tuned for a big announcement on New Year’s Day. The excitement is palpable, isn’t it!?

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
This recipe comes courtesy of The Drunken Moogle site and while it is meant for the comic and movie character Iron Man, I think it applies here, as well. Simply place the shot of Orange Juice into the Amaretto/Grenadine Mix and slam the whole concoction back. The drink is sweet, so if you have a tooth for that, you’re in luck. Most will want to have a more tart taste mixed in, so this cocktail doesn’t work for all.