THE BIG 'Z': Savickas, a strongman hero at home, has also earned Lithuania an honorable reputation abroad.
RIGA - In front of hundreds of enthusiastic onlookers, Lithuania's Zidrunas Savickas smashed his own world record in the Log Press, winning the 2006 IFSA Strongest Man Grand Prix by seven points. Latvia's Raimonds Bergmanis took second place in the competition, which was held in Riga last weekend.
In a tremendous show of strength and power, the Lithuanian won the Log Press Maximum Weight event with a lift of 205 kilograms, beating his old mark of 202.5 kilograms.
Nicknamed "The Big Z," Savickas has proved once again that he's the best in the Baltics, and fierce competition come World Championship time.
"A day before the competition, I wouldn't have even dreamt about a finish like that," Bergmanis told the Latvian daily Diena, referring to his second-place medal. "The great support of all my fans is probably what made this dream come true."
Bergmanis wasn't the only notable Latvian competing. Fellow strongmen Andris Kazelniks and Maris Rozentals finished in 10th and 11th place, respectively.
The Grand Prix is characterized by gruelling events that include vehicle dragging, heavy weight lifting and, the competition's signature, the Grand Prix Stones of Strength.
Although Savickas was an easy victor, the atmosphere was competitive throughout the weekend.
Mikhail Koklaev from Russia and Andris Murumetss from Estonia finished in third and fourth place, respectively. Former world champion Vasily Virastuk from Ukraine finished fifth.
A total of 12 strongmen from Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Russia, England and Romania took part in the championship.