Jussi Laurimaa, IFSA CEO, Focuses on Baking a Bigger Cake

IFSA Strongman's fundamental challenge, explained CEO Jussi Laurimaa, is to grow the sport: As the cake gets bigger, all will benefit, and the process will begin with the athletes themselves.

Outlining the IFSA philosophy that, properly nurtured and directed, passion will allow the sport of strongman to thrive as never before, and the net result will be benefits first to the athletes, Mr. Laurimaa said, "We believe the sport of strongman has room for a few millionaires." While not guaranteeing this figure could be achieved in IFSA's first year, Mr. Laurimaa saw this as an attainable mid term goal for IFSA's top competitors, and one that reflected the sort of potential he sees for the sport.

Stressing that strongman appeals to a primal human interest in determining who is the strongest, the sport of strongman cuts across cultures, which makes its potential huge, Laurimaa said, and IFSA is committed to investing the financial and managerial resources required to realize this potential.

Addressing concerns that had arisen within the strongman community that, by virtue of seeking outside assistance, the sport itself would be diluted, Mr. Laurimaa said that IFSA had selected people with long histories in the sport, engaged at its highest levels, to run the divisions with the most direct impact on the sport itself, so IFSA was confident that it would develop top drawer strongman events and contests.

The Federation Division of IFSA Strongman is headed by Jamie Reeves and Ilkka Kinnunen, and its primary responsibilities include events, rules, equipment, world records, and so forth. The Athlete Management Division is headed by Dr. Douglas Edmunds and Marcel Mostert, and this division is responsible for such things as athlete career development, training referees, etc. Malcolm Crease and Christian Fennell run the Commercial Division, which counts TV production and sponsorship acquisition among its key responsibilities.

Stressing its open door policy and as another indication of how IFSA plans to reshape the sport of strongman, Mr. Laurimaa said that a number of workshops have already been held, with more planned, to provide a forum for athlete input.

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