Fitness enthusiasts are always trying to find new ways to challenge themselves in the pursuit of personal physical excellence, and the Joe Weider’s Olympia Fitness and Performance Weekend is one of the best places to find those challenges, whether it’s powerlifting, sumo wrestling, or strongman. They could also discover new sports to try such as MAS Wrestling.
Odd Haugen is a strength sports legend who is known in the world of grip competitions and strongman. Even in his 70s, he can be seen training and pushing himself in a weight room with a variety of challenges. He’s very passionate about increasing awareness of MAS Wrestling as well. He discovered it himself over 10 years ago when he was trying to find a one-on-one physical challenge for a strongman competition. He has held numerous events in different places as a promoter and advocate of the sport. He makes the concept of the sport appear simple, but it’s quite a physical challenge for the people participating in it.
“Basically, it’s a one-on-one tug of war with a stick,” said Haugen. Two competitors take hold of one stick while they sit on the floor with extended legs and their feet braced against a solid object like blocks or a log. The objective is to pull the opponent over the block to the other side. It traces back to over 1,000 years ago as a Vikings game.
“There have been different variations of it. It’s been a part of the Eskimo Games, except their version is foot to foot,” Odd Haugen explained. “The best two out of three wins the match, and there’s actually a lot of movement to try getting the opponent off balance. It’s a great man-to-man challenge that doesn’t involve hitting each other.”
Odd Haugen put on the first United States championship event in San Jose, CA in 2013. He’s competed in ths sport himself as well. Several athletes in other sports have been involved in MAS Wrestling. Among them are 2019 World’s Strongest Man and 2022 Arnold Strongman Classic champion Martins Licis, who Haugen had mentored at one point. Licis would win the 2016 MAS Wrestling Open World Championships before ascending to the top of the strongman world.
Fans who are going to the 2023 Olympia Weekend’s World Fitness Expo in Orlando, FL, on Nov. 3rd and 4th will get to see MAS Wrestling at the highest level because it will be the site of the 2023 Olympia MAS Wrestling World Championships. Four men’s weight classes and two women’s weight classes will be featured, and the winners will receive championship belts for their efforts. Haugen advises potential spectators to be ready for a lot of intense competition.
“There’s going to be a lot of activity. Several athletes from different countries will be coming. We will have a huge field.”
Odd Haugen shared that they have held events at the Olympia in the past and had great success with it, which is why they are looking forward to being a part of the 2023 edition as well.
“It’s a big event with a lot of people and many different sports, which is why it’s a great place to showcase our sport. They do a good job of looking out for the fans and athletes.”
For more information on the sport and organization, go to www.maswrestlingusa.com. Fans can also follow MAS Wrestling on Facebook or @OddHaugen on Instagram and X to stay updated about the 2023 Olympia World Championships. People going to Orlando can skip the expo lines by buying their passes at www.mrolympia.com.