After earning her strongman pro card in her novice year of competing, a Vancouver Island athlete is heading to the Arnold Sports Festival in Ohio next March.
Tamara Nolan of the Comox Valley has always been an athlete, competing since she was a teenager.
“There were a few points in my life where I wasn’t training but very, very few. But I’ve been training full-time since I was a teenager,” said Nolan.
“I played high-level competitive sports literally from the time I was a small child all the way up, everything from track and field all the way to baseball, soccer and all the core sports.”
Nolan says her coach Sean Hayes, owner of Hayes’ Garage Gym, got her into strongman competitions despite some hurdles.
“I had moved over to P.E.I. and we had been talking online and he had encouraged me to come out and work out at his place,” said Nolan. “But I’ll be honest, I was intimidated. These guys are huge and strength sports are massive and strongman is real deal stuff.”
Despite this, Hayes put Nolan into a competition without Nolan really realizing it, winning every category she entered.
In 2022, Nolan says she has done about nine competitions and won both B.C. provincials and nationals in the 82-kilogram category.
Her efforts meant she received her pro card in her novice year and got an invite to the Arnold Sports Festival, where the world’s strongest come to compete.
The road to get to the Arnold was difficult and filled with many injuries, according to Nolan. With the expectations and people all over watching, she says she wants to have good results but remain realistic.
“These kinds of international competitions, it will be people from all over so you always want to visualize yourself winning but we also have to be realistic,” she said. “I’m still very new at this sport so it’s the technique that we have to get into, I can’t just rely on strength forever.
“It would be great to place in the top five, but who knows what will happen.”
For those looking to excel, not only in strongman but in other sports, Nolan says the key is to get involved in the community.
“Reach out to a community and really get involved in the things that you are interested in,” said Nolan. “Find yourself with people who also want to live that passion because that is going to set you apart and be able to go the distance.
“When you’re putting in the energy, putting in the work, putting in the time it’s inspiring to your own set of skills and confidence.”
She adds she doesn’t believe in limitations and a positive attitude is required for success in anything.
Nolan would like to thank her coach, others who she trains with and so many who have supported her over the years.
The Arnold Sports Festival will be held between March 2 and 5.