BY Rebecca Aichholzer
Brisbane, Australia – Strongwoman Red Wiard is preparing for the fight of her life when she heads to Daytona, Florida in November 2019. Wiard is representing Australia, alongside 230 international athletes from 21 countries, at the Official Strongman Games.
Wiard qualified for the same event in 2018, but found herself unable to attend due to military commitments. In May this year, she represented Australia at the Arnold Classic Johannesburg, in South Africa, where she placed second in the 82kg weight class.
Based on her success in South Africa, Wiard earned herself a second chance to represent Australia for the title of World’s Strongest Man / Woman at the Official Strongman Games 2019.
“Opportunities do not come up like this very often due to the talent that keeps arising in this very competitive sport. For this reason, I am trying to seize every opportunity I get, while I am fit and able to do so.”
Well-rounded strength athlete
Wiard has been competing in strength sports for more than five years. She has competed successfully as a powerlifter, strongwoman, highland games athlete and MAS wrestler. She is a two-time national strongwoman champion, most recently winning the 82kg weight class at the Australian Strongman Alliance (ASA) championships in July this year.
Wiard expects to compete against around 20-30 women in her weight class alone at the Official Strongman Games. Fellow Australian strongwomen Jess Cameron will be competing in the lightweight women’s under 65kg class, and Ally Clair and Rebecca Chessum will be representing Australia in the women’s open weight class. Wiard and other Australian athletes are fundraising to help pay for their attendance at the event.
Drive and determination
A driven athlete, Wiard sets herself specific and measurable goals every year. She aims for three annual strongwoman competitions: the Arnold Classic, ASA Nationals and Queensland State Titles. She explains that she has always had a competitive nature, trying to be better than she was yesterday.
“When I don’t have set goals, or anything specific to train for, I don’t take my training seriously and tend to go backwards.”
And she’s inspiring; Wiard never realised what she was capable of until she started achieving personal records, then placing in strength competitions. If you’d told her a few years ago that she would be an Australian champion or hold national records, she wouldn’t have believed you.
Her goal for the Games is to unleash her “inner warrior” and place in the top 10 at the end of day two. The top athletes secure their right to participate on the final day of competition, but Wiard is okay if she doesn’t get that far. In the spirit of travelling Aussies everywhere, she will simply cheer on fellow Aussie athletes who do make the cut.
Wiard anticipates that her highlights of the Games in November will be the farmers carry, an event where she currently holds the Australian record – 105kg per hand over 15m.
However, Wiard is not looking forward to the overhead events, given she has been nursing a partially torn labrum for a number of years, which causes shoulder instability at times.
The calibre of competitors that Wiard will compete against at the Official Strongman Games is incredible, and she is excited to meet them. The competitor list includes:
- Sunny Bradley – pro-strongwoman from Germany;
- Martina Andersson – Sweden & Europe’s strongest woman;
- Cecilie Wormdahl – Norway’s Strongest and Europe’s 2nd strongest woman; and
- Brittany Brecht – pro-strongwoman from Canada.
In her ‘down time’, Wiard is a medic in the Army Reserves, as well as working as a registered nurse, where you will find her responding to code blue medical emergencies, and managing acute and chronic mental health concerns.
“Some people think I am crazy because I spend a lot of time at the gym, but it keeps me sane from my job as an RN, which can be stressful.”
Wiard’s current personal records include a 170kg squat, 260kg yoke walk across 20m, 115kg atlas stone over 1.2m bar and 55kg monster dumbbell, which is the current Australian record.