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Big Bad Santa's Olympia Recap

By Ken Nowicki October 05, 2018

A lot has changed since I competed at the 2016 Olympia in Las Vegas. In 2018, I wasn't the pudgy nobody from Oregon anymore. The Big Bad Santa persona was a big hit and I'm going to share with you this year's adventure. 
First of all... the Olympia is a spectacle that everyone needs to see in their life at least once. 45,000 of some of the best the built people in the world all converging in one location for the love of iron. In the corner of the Las Vegas convention center was the Strongman Corp Masters Nationals area. 
Day 1 Events:

280lb Log Clean & Press Away, 60 second time limit. I was fighting a bicep strain and was glad we only had to clean the log once but once I got it up I went to work. I got 6 good reps in the first 30 seconds and needed air so I dropped the log but it took a Chicago bounce and almost rolled to the judges feet. I spent the next 20 seconds retrieving the log. I tied for second place in this event.

800lb Yoke, 50 feet with only one drop allowed, second drop ends the run. I felt good about this event in training but twice my knee buckled because I was trying to take to long of steps and that costed me valuable points. 

585lb Axle Deadlift. My bread and butter. Because of my poor performance in the yoke, I was in the second group to go and I set the mark at ten reps. A mark that couldn't be beaten that day, but was tied by the eventual winner of the contest (so I don't feel too bad about the tie)

Day 2 Events:

320lb Farmers Walk, 50 feet. Here's where the contest took a turn for me. I was setting a winning pace until I fell. I'm not certain what happened but it was the same leg that caused my yoke drops. First place was 8.9 seconds, second was 9.9 and I fell at 9.0 seconds with 8 inches to go. By the time I got up and moved the weight across the line my time was 14.5. My mental game took a hit over that one. 

•320lb Stone of Steel. Due to the bicep strain and the farmers wreck, I wasn't able to pick the warm-up stone that only weighed 240 pounds without the feeling of a nail bring driven into my bicep. So with great sadness I had to withdraw. When big John Anderson announced that I had withdrawn due to injury, the crowd gave me an ovation that made my eyes water. 

Now for the actual Olympia stuff... I got to meet many of the most influential members of the iron community. Finally meeting Ed Coan was fun because he grabbed my beard for a pic. Maddy Forberg and Brittany Diamond introduced me to the folks at Redcon1 (including Brian Shaw) and that has led to a sponsorship. 
If you ever get a chance to go to the Olympia you must go. 
A few hours after, my buddy and fellow Cerberus teammate told me about a deadlift party at the Filthy Power Gym so I got my gear and headed on over. I met the who's who of powerlifting. Brandon Allen, Rob Phillipus, Nick Best, JP Price, Steve Johnson, aka The Forsaken Warrior and many more.
I decided to do a little lifting and worked up to a triple at 585 and a single at 675. The crowd was electric there but my body reminded me that it was wrecked from two days of competing and walking. 
Join me next year and make your own Olympia memories. 

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