Two Prairie du Chien men compete in Strongman Viking Games

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John Holley competes in the 430-pound Frame Hold for Time event at the Syttende Mai Strongman Viking Games in Stoughton, Wis. on May 15. (Photos submitted)

Micheal Froehlich competes in the Atlas Stones as John Holley coaches and cheers him on.

Two Prairie du Chien residents traveled to Stoughton, Wis. to compete in the annual Syttende Mai Strongman Viking Games on May 15. 

John Holley and Micheal (correct spelling) Froehlich went head-to-head with some of the strongest athletes from Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, and Illinois. 

The events consisted of Viking Press, Atlas Stones, Squat to Blocks, Tire Flip/Loading Medley, and Frame hold for time. John placed third in the Master’s Division and Micheal placed fifth in the Super-Heavyweight Open Division, traditionally one of the hardest in the sport. 

At 52 years old, John was the oldest athlete competing. He is a six-year veteran of the sport and says that being the oldest is the norm. When asked what has kept him going in the sport for so long, he was quick to say, “It is my close personal relationship with the Lord that gives me what I need to push through. As a Christian, I’ve learned that with Christ all things are possible. If it was not for Him, I would have stopped a long time ago.”

This was Micheal’s first competition, and it was a chance meeting at Suppz Gym with John that started his strongman journey.  

“Micheal asked me about competing and I told him that he should give it a try,” said John. “I knew he had what it took to be successful, so we started training about three months ago.  I am so proud of what he accomplished. He went against some seasoned vets and held his own through each event.”

Micheal said, “Saturday was an experience I will never forget. I went to just test the waters and see where I could go. I thought why not join the Novice Heavyweight since I’m new, but no I’ve been trained by amazing people (Ronald Colbert and John Holley) who have pushed me to excel and be the best. So, I competed in the Men’s Super-Heavyweight Open.” 

John would like to see more people join the sport. He said it challenges individuals both physically and mentally.  

“If you watch the sport on television, you always see these huge men lifting extremely heavy weights. Those are the professionals. The reality is that there are men and women of all shapes, sizes. We all are there to win but we also want the other athletes to do well also.  It is also so much fun!”  

Micheal added, “This sport is for anyone and everyone. At the end of the day, you are the only person you are competing against, because the people to the left and right of you are still going to be cheering you on regardless of the little medal at the end of the day.”   

Both men mentioned that they had a lot of support outside of the sport whom they wanted to thank.   

John said everyone at Bible Baptist Church provided him with calls, texts, and prayers. His son Keenan and Keenan’s girlfriend Erin took pictures and videos and were their biggest cheering section.  John’s co-workers picked up the slack at work so he could train and compete. Lastly, Chad, the owner of Suppz Gym in Prairie du Chien, provided the best gym around. 

Micheal wanted to thank his parents, brother Tyler, Suppz Gym and all of his friends. 

Anyone interested in Strongman can contact John at Suppz, 326-2348.

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