Graham Hicks might have to get used to being mobbed.
The Morecambe strongman’s rapid rise reached new heights when he came third in Europe’s Strongest Man in Leeds.
It was the best ever result for the three-time World’s Strongest Man competitor who found himself the subject of plenty of attention after starring at Headingley Stadium on his first appearance in the competition last Saturday, August 9.
“I’ve been and watched the competition the last two years as a spectator and wondered what it would be like to be involved,” said muscle man who is a BAE Systems Engineer by day.
“I only got an invite after someone pulled out injured too.
“It felt normal and natural though and then I spent two hours afterwards signing autographs and having my picture taken.
“I had people coming up to me and saying I was the most famous person they’d ever met.
“It was weird and then I came home and everything was back to normal.”
Things are far from normal though for the 28-year-old as fiancée Kim is expecting their first child, a girl, on Wednesday.
The resort strongman said: “I’m going to be a dad in a few days and I can’t wait for that.
“This result is a brilliant present because I don’t have to worry about doing competitions for the rest of the year because I’m going to World’s Strongest Man regardless as Leeds was a qualifier.
“I can just enjoy being a dad.”
That piece of mind comes from finishing behind winner Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson from Iceland and second-placed Swedish strongman Johannes Årsjö after a series of events that included the deadlift, yolk and of course, the dreaded atlas stones.
It is a result that will be hard to surpass according to the Morecambe man.
“It’s my biggest competition aside from the world’s,” said Hicks.
“It’s like a World’s Strongest Man final without the Americans.
“For me, this is going to be really hard to top. Next I need to try and make a World’s Strongest Man final.”
Part of World’s Strongest Man is down to the luck of the draw however and Hicks is hoping for better fortune next time around as he continues from strength to strength.
“I just need a group where I’ve got half a chance,” he said.
“I’m definitely getting better in all the events. I’ve improved loads and my confidence is growing all the time.
“I’ve never been good on the stones in a competition but I managed to get a good time in Leeds. It just shows myself that I can do it.
“I’m still getting better.”
Europe’s Strongest Man will be broadcast on Channel 5 during the Christmas period.