Baston’s Rick Long is set to become one of the first disabled athletes to compete in a prestigious strongman event in America.
Rick, 55, who last year claimed second place in the World’s Strongest Disabled Man competition, has been chosen as one of six competitors to represent the UK at the Arnold Classic event in Columbus, Ohio.
The event, founded in 1989 by bodybuilder-turned actor Arnold Schwarzenegger and sports promoter Jim Lorimer, is regarded as one of the most prestigious events of its kind.
The competition takes place between March 2 and 5 and will see athletes battle it out in a range of disciplines including sled pull, atlas stones and a dumbbell medley.
Rick, who works a fitness instructor at Bourne Leisure Centre, is currently training hard before flying out to Ohio.
He said: “I’m honoured to have been offered the chance to compete and fly the flag for disabled athletes.
“I was invited to go for it after finishing third in the British championships, followed by second in the world championships last year.
“As well as training at the gym where I work, I’ve also been training in Grantham and Milton Keynes with other athletes to make sure I’m in top condition.”
Rick, whose other passion is sidecar racing, lost a leg in a horrific crash at Hockenheim, Germany, back in 2008. Friend and team-mate Steve Norbury, 37, was tragically killed in the crash.
He only started working out seriously in 2015 when training to become a fitness instructor and entered strongman competitions for the first time last year – but has already achieved some amazing results, often beating younger and bigger rivals.
Rick launched a fundraising appeal to help pay for his trip to America and soon reached his £1,500 target.
He is also grateful for sponsorship from 1Life, which runs Bourne Leisure Centre; and his local pub The White Horse, in Baston.