Ukrainian Federation of Strength Athletes (UFSA): These Are Not World Records

Citing differences in the implements and execution of the events, UFSA’s Olena Kiba told IronMind® that what had been reported as new world records by the Professional Strongman League of Ukraine, did not merit that status.

For example, Olena Kiba, pointed out the apparently-higher starting position for the log lift and for the deadlift, and a shield that was ergonomically more favorable to carry.  This left her with a feeling that these performances were not worthy of being called world records, she said, and she was quick to challenge Vasyl Virastyuk if he felt otherwise.

UFSA, which is headed by Olena Kiba’s husband, Vladimir, touts its “international connections” and said the rival organization disrespects its intellectual property, claiming that it is inappropriately using Kiba’s images to promote itself, and that an illusory sense that there is big money in strongman is the driving force behind the Professional Strongman League of Ukraine.  “In fact, it is all about money,” Ms. Kiba told IronMind®.  Kiba has long been involved in the TV production end of strongman, but she’s not just a media mogul.

Coming from “real sport,” Ms. Kiba and her husband were distinguished high jumpers in the Soviet Union, not something to be taken lightly, and it’s not as if they have sat idly on the sidelines of strongman since they threw their hats into the ring.

“UFSA  . . . has 12 years’ history of glory and which I proudly represent,” Ms. Kiba told IronMind®, “[and] is officially registered in Ukraine, and we are against fake records and fake titles.”  UFSA has organized “more than 50 [contests] within 12 years,” Ms. Kiba said. 

To be sure, strongman is not pure sport and its blend of sport and entertainment can grate on the nerves of those who are more interested in sport for its own sake - not something that is dolled-up for mass consumption.  By this standard, it is interesting that Kyrylo Chuprynin is an Olympian (in an event no less classic than the discus) and Volodymyr Muravlyov was one of the competitors at the contest in question.

IPF super heavyweight world champion Brad Gillingham wrote to IronMind® yesterday, “I was reading the Ukrainian strongman results on IronMind® today and I was surprised to see Volodymyr Muravlyov in the results.  I have competed against him several times in IPF powerlifting events.  He was a very good powerlifter, placing on the podium several times at IPF World Championships.” 

Gillingham, who is as meticulous in his record keeping as he is strong on the platform, gave IronMind® a summary of Muravlyov’s top IPF performances and answered some followup questions.

“I used to talk with him quite a bit, although he did not speak very good English.  He is a very strong guy,” Brad Gillingham said.

Although the original announcement about the Professional Strongman League of Ukraine ruffled some feathers, Alex Glivinski, the organization’s vice president, has repeatedly told IronMind® that he and his organization have no interest in launching personal attacks or making ad hominem statements.  Its focus is on developing the sport and a key part of that strategy is to broaden participation, he said.

Returning to the central question of whether or not the performances cited by Mr. Glivinkski in fact broke the established Strongman Champions League (SCL) records seemed to be one that should also be addressed by SCL itself, so IronMind® posed the question to Marcel Mostert.

Mostert told IronMind® that he is frequently approached by people about the general subject of world records in strongman, and in this particular case, he said, “I can say only this about it: a world record in our SCL and other international competitions can be only recognized when there are two qualified and international referees present at the contest.  Therefore, a real world record is not something what you can do in your backyard or on YouTube.”

Coming back to Alex Glivinski, he questions “why our apparatus has to be the same.  Most important is the weight and the conditions.  We don’t want to say bad words about anybody, but I think it is unfair that they try to make our records not count.”

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