CRF Blog

The Strongest Man in the World

by Shruti Modi

In The Strongest Man in the World for The New Yorker, Burkhard Bilger describes the new era of strength competitions that bring the human body to new and unseen limits.

The giant of Fort Lupton was born, like a cowbird’s chick, to parents of ordinary size. His father, Jay Shaw, a lineman for a local power company, was six feet tall; his mother, Bonnie, was an inch or so shorter. At the age of three months, Brian weighed seventeen pounds. At two years, he could grab his Sit ’n Spin and toss it nearly across the room. In photographs of his grade-school classes, he always looked out of place, his grinning, elephant-eared face floating like a parade balloon above the other kids in line. They used to pile on his back during recess, his mother told me — not because they didn’t like him but because they wanted to see how many of them he could carry. “I just think Brian has been blessed,” she said. “He has been blessed with size.” [more]