The High Cost Of A Dream: World's Strongest Man
Some kids grew up idolizing Reggie Jackson, Dr. Jor Joe Montana.
Gerard Benderoth's idols were Magnus Ver Magnusson, Riku Kiriand Bill Kazmeier.
If those names are foreign to you, you somehow haven't watched ESPN's late night classic "World's Strongest Man," where insanely ripped behemoths keep you awake by pulling buses and throwing 50-pound weights over towering walls.
Unlike me and the thousands of kids who grew up marveling at this contest, Benderoth actually has a chance to compete for the title. On Sunday, he'll be at the Mohegan Sun in Connecticutto take his chance at qualifying for the 2009 version of the competition.
If the contest was for the "World's Most Diverse Man," Benderoth would win hands down. This man who stands at 5-foot-11 and weighs 370 pounds, is a police officer who tailors his own uniforms, enjoys painting and dance movies.
He also loves lifting the seemingly impossible, which is a costly endeavor. If he does qualify and somehow goes on to win the competition, he says he'll probably break even on the investment.
Benderoth has free memberships to gyms in his area, and is sponsored by a vitamin shop and a dietary supplement company called Genetic Breakthrough Science, but what he really needs is a supermarket deal.
"It's at least $350 a week in food and my wife and five-year-old aren't eating much of that," Benderoth told us. "I go through a box of oatmeal every two days, I eat at least a dozen eggs every day, drink a gallon of milk, eat a steak and some chicken too."
And if that's not enough protein, he'll have even more by going through a big jug of whey -what most people will finish in a month - in just five days.
Benderoth, who can bench press 625 pounds and squat 800 pounds, says his costs don't include steroids, which he says he doesn't think about taking because of his day job. (The competition doesn't ban any performance enhancers.)
Benderoth's nickname? The White Rhino.
"I was competing in the Scottish Games and this guy comes up to me and says, 'You look like a mutant rhino," Benderoth recalled. "And I thought, 'Well, I do have big arms, a big belly and a big head,' so it's not that far off."
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