Graham Hicks admitted his emotions nearly got the better of him as he stormed to third in Britain’s Strongest Man on his return to action.
The Morecambe strength star had been out of action for nearly two years with a back injury but was back with a bang as he secured a podium finish at the Doncaster Dome.
Eddie Hall took victory from Laurence Shahlaei with Hicks the best of the rest having last competed at World’s Strongest Man in 2015.
“It was weird to be back,” said the 31-year-old.
“For the couple of hours beforehand I was just catching up with people.
“Then the crowd came in and when I was called out I looked around and my eyes started to glaze over.
“I saw my wife and she blew me a kiss and I was nearly crying.
“A lot of it is down to her keeping me positive.
“When I didn’t want to train she made me train. She kept my head in the right place
“It was pretty emotional. It meant a lot to me.
“It was great to be welcomed back.”
The four-times World’s Strongest Man competitor simply wanted to finish the competition that included the deadlift, Atlas Stones and a shield walk but surpassed all expectations.
“With the line-up there is now anyone down to ninth or 10th could have finished third,” said the BAE Systems engineer.
“The top two were miles ahead but they’re the professionals.
“I just didn’t think I’d be the best of the next pack so soon.
“I’ve only been training for 20 weeks and for the last two years have not been training more than I’ve trained.
“I did well in everything really but I don’t look at it and think I can’t do better.”
The unlikely podium place means Hicks has qualified for World’s Strongest Man in Botswana in May although his participation is very much up in the air.
“I’m not sure if I’m going to go,” he said.
“I’m only just back and I’ve planned out the next few months.
“I’ve put a spanner in the works myself!”