Graham Hicks is no longer the ‘nearly man’ after lifting the title of Britain’s Strongest Man in Sheffield on Saturday.
The 33-year-old has twice been runner-up, was third at 2014's Europe’s Strongest Man and is a four times World’s Strongest Man competitor.
But it is the first time the Morecambe muscle man has topped the podium in major league strongman competitions - he beat Surrey’s Adam Bishop into second place and Scotland’s Tom Stoltman was third.
Hicks, by day a British Aerospace systems support worker, who services Eurofighters when he’s not lifting logs or carrying cars, hopes the win will seen his strongman career soar to new heights.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” he said.
"I’ve been dreaming about this for months and months and months.
“Even from second place last year - I really wanted to win this year.
“I’m still getting stronger, fitter and learning more about my body.
“I might be 33 but there’s still a lot in me to give. I’m getting better.
"I keep quiet. I’m not boisterous. I don’t shout. I just go about my stuff quietly and that’s not everyone’s cup of tea.”
Hicks, at 5ft 10ins the smallest man in the competition, will next face the likes of 6ft 9ins new World’s Strongest Man, Hafþór 'Thor' Björnsson, aka The Mountain in TV’s Game Of Thrones, at Europe’s Strongest Man at Leeds First Direct Arena on Saturday, April 6.
He also hopes to regain his British Log Lift record but says family will always come first.
Married to power-lifter Kimber-Lee, they have two children, Layla, four, and Tyler, 16-months, with another child due in July.
“I’m taking things one step at a time,” Hicks said.
“I’ll do what I can to compete but my focus will always be my family first.
“It helps to have a good wife, who believes in me and gives me the pep talk I need now and again.
“She’s always been there, after every event, to tell me I’ve done good; to focus on your next one and do this and that.
“My wife is really great. She’s into lifting, herself, and that helps.”
The trophy was handed to him by retired five times British champ and ex-World’s Strongest Man Eddie ‘ The Beast’ Hall.
He said: “Graham has always been the bridesmaid, never the bride, until now.
“He deserves this."
Tickets for Giants Live Europe’s Strongest Man at Leeds First Direct Arena on Saturday, April 6, are £23.70 to £131. Call 0844 248 1585 or visit www.firstdirectarena.com. For Britain’s Strongest Man at Sheffield FlyDSA Arena on Saturday, January 18, 2020, priced £28 to £196, call the box office on 0114 256 5656 or visit www.flydsaarena.co.uk