Strongman Graham Hicks is no longer the ‘nearly man’ - today he is celebrating a dream come true after finally lifting the title of Britain’s Strongest Man at Sheffield FlyDSA Arena.
The 33-year-old said of his win: “It hasn’t sunk in yet. I’ve been dreaming about this for months and months and months. Even from second place last year - I really wanted to win this year.”
At 5ft 10ins, the smallest man in the competition will next face the likes of 6ft 9ins World’s Strongest Man Hafþór 'Thor' Björnsson, aka The Mountain in TV’s Game Of Thrones, at the next Giant's Live world championship qualifying event - Europe’s Strongest Man, at Leeds First Direct Arena on Saturday, April 6. For tickets - visit www.firstdirectarena.com.
It is where Hicks also wants to regain his log lift British record.
Hicks also plans to be back next year to defend his Britain’s Strongest Man crown at Sheffield FlyDSA Area on January 18, 2020. Tickets are now on sale at www.flydsaarena.co.uk.
He was presented with his trophy by retired five times winner of Britain's Strongest man and former World’s Strongest Man turned actor and TV presenter, strongman legend Eddie ‘The Beast’ Hall.
Now a co-host Of Giants Live events, Hall said: “Graham has always been the bridesmaid, never the bride. He deserves this”
Hicks has been tantalisingly close in the past with two Britain’s Strongest Man second places, in 2014 and last year. He was also third at Europe’s Strongest Man in 2014.
A four times World’s Strongest Man competitor, it is the first time he has topped the podium in major league strongman competitions - he beat Surrey’s Adam Bishop into second place and Scotland’s Tom Stoltman was third.
Sheffield hopeful and retired policeman Phil Roberts is recovering after he was stretchered off to hospital with a suspected fractured lower shin when he fell over badly while trying to lift a huge Atlas Stone in the final event.
Fellow Steel City competitor Paul Smith took the mid-table seventh place.
Hicks, by day a British Aerospace systems support worker, who services Eurofighters when he’s not lifting logs or carrying cars, hopes the win will seen his strongman career soar to new heights.
“I’ve had to dig deep today. Some events I lost points on but I was happy with my performance. It was a tough day. There’s been a lot of endurance, a lot of reps but I dug deep and gut it done," he said.
He said second place Adam Bishop pushed him really hard.
Hicks sad: “I had a good cushion going into the Atlas Stones. I just wanted to make sure I didn’t slip up, because I knew we would both be fast.
“He beat me on the Stones, but like by a second.”
He is married to wife Kimber-Lee, they have two children, Layla, four, and Tyler, 16-months, with another child due in July.
And he says his family comes first.
“I’m taking things one step at a time. We’ve got a third child due in July. For me that always takes priority. I’ll do what I can to compete but my focus will always be my family first.
“I’m still getting stronger, getting fitter and learning more about my body. I might be 33 but there’s still a lot in me to give. I’m getting better.”
He said of the forthcoming Europe’s Strongest Man event in Leeds: “It’s the Log Lift Championship. I need to get that British Log Lift record back. And just have a good show.”
He added: “The fans have been great. I’ve had such backing in line. I keep quiet. I’m not boisterous I don’t shout. I just go about my stuff quietly and that’s not everyone’s cup of tea.”
Hicks also had inspirational words of advice to others trying to make their own dreams come true.
He said: “Just dig deep and try to believe in yourself.
“I’m my biggest doubter.
“It helps also to have a good wife, who believes in me and gives me the pep talk I need now and again.
“She’s always been there, after every event, to tell me I’ve done good; to focus on your next one and do this and that. My wife is really great. She’s into lifting, herself, and that helps.”
He said of former British title holder, retired world champ Hall: “Since Eddie’s come away from strongman he’s blossomed in a way, because he always had the pressure of wanting to win World’s. He carried that pressure like a weight on his shoulder.
"He set himself that goal and it made him hungry. Now that weight’s lifted he’s become so much more chilled out and a nicer guy to be around because he’s achieved his dreams.”
BUY TICKETS: Tickets are £23.70 to £131, may include booking fees, for the next Giants Live Europe’s Strongest Man event at Leeds First Direct Arena on Saturday, April 6. Visit www.firstdirectarena.com or call 0844 248 1585.
Tickets for Britain’s Strongest Man at Sheffield FlyDSA Arena on Saturday, Jan 18,2020, are £28 to £196, booking fees may apply. Call the box office on 0114 256 5656 or visit www.flydsaarena.co.uk.
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