The exhibition of hand, wrist and finger strength has been prominent throughout the years in the public feats of the great British strongmen. Until 1991, nail breaking, coin bending and card and book tearing were the ultimate demonstration of this strength. These household objects presented an element of reality and its evident difficulty to the public, hence their enduring popularity. 1991, however, saw the birth of the British Grip Championships; the physical and incredibly real demonstration of all encompassing grip strength.
Imagine a competition of grit, sweat and bleeding hands between Thomas Topham (18th century strongman) and Thomas Inch (early 20th century strongman), a desperate battle between two greats, two centuries apart. Such a test has never been possible, even without the intricacies of time, yet today we are able to pit our wills and our strength against the best our country can offer.
Over the years, inspiration has bombarded me from numerous sources, from the likes of Aston, Caswell, Chappell, Cope, Dinnie, Dyson, Hunt, Jelley, Morris, Murray, Price, Shanks, Tait, Tolson and Vansittart. Since the grip contests started in Britain in 1991, we have had many fine athletes gracing the lifting platform, such as: Frank Allen, Barry Anderson, Michael Daly, David Elmer, Steve Gardener, Peter Horne, Robert Howe, Nick McKinless, Chris Moore, John Moore, Ben Read, Paul Shaw, Steve Sherwood, Elizabeth Talbot, Jim Wylie and myself. We've even had a few competitors from around the world competing, as the British is an 'open' contest, and these include Kalle Lane (8 times winner of the LGC comp in Sweden). We also have in Britain the Holle family and Chris James from Wales who wish to not compete, and competing strongman Laine Snook who recently broke the Rolling Thunder WR.