All the Omsk strong men
Omsk has always been a tough place to survive, which required tough people to come and live here. And this idea of strength and, particularly, of manliness has found its way into the sporting and physical culture.
The people of Omsk know how to make the most of the ice, proud as they are of their renowned professional hockey team Avangard.
Players of Avangard may look like other teams from around Russia and the world, but they know they are special, as they are Siberians.
Since they were little they have practiced outside in cold weather, explains Nikita Pivtsakin, an Omsk Avanguard player.
“We’re used to harsh conditions. It’s warmer in North America, so we’re the toughest players,” he said.
And this does not refer only to seasoned Omsk players. Enthusiasm for the test of courage and strength comes young.
“I like the way they play hockey, the power struggles, the strikes and the opportunity to become a star,” said Nikolay Nichaev, young hockey player.
Ice hockey is not the only Herculean endeavor attracting attention here.
How about towing a minibus, for example?
“In Siberia, in winter with slippery roads it’s pretty hard,” explains Yury Galmakov, a strong man.
Pulling minibuses is not the only way these weightlifters show their strength. They can also find many other ways to flex some Siberian muscle.
At a local gym the team lifts, bends and pulls anything they can lay their hands on for competitions across Russia. They also put on public shows to entertain the crowds and earn some extra money. But day in day out, it is about heaving that little bit more.
“It’s different. I just like it, that’s all. I like wresting against these pieces of equipment. I like to achieve good results,” says Ksenia Osipova, a strong woman.
The team only formed a few years ago, so they have not won any major titles yet. But again the Siberian spirit infuses them, and they have a strong sense of its special qualities.
Historically people from Siberia have been very strong and made great soldiers, noted Vasily Grishchenko, an Omsk strong man coach.
“I think they greatly contributed to our victory in World War II. Conditions here make people learn how to survive,” he said.
If it looks liftable or moveable, Omsk strong men will try and muscle it around, whether it is tire moving or lifting giant weights. It is not a problem for the men with the muscles.