CHARLESTON, West Virginia (AP) - A firefighter who traveled to China to compete in the World's Strongest Man competition has become the first American in 24 years to win the title.
A weary Phil Pfister was back at work Tuesday, three days after capturing the 10-day competition in Sanya, China.
"I haven't even gotten a good night's sleep yet," Pfister said.
The 6-foot-6 (1.95-meter), 325-pound (146-kilogram) Pfister bested 25 athletes from around the world in events such as bus pulls, car pushes, tire turns and stone lifts.
Pfister was in second place behind defending champion Mariusz Pudzianowski of Poland entering the last day of competition but won the last five events. He overtook Pudzianowski in the final event, in which competitors carry stones, some weighing hundreds of pounds, from one pillar to another.
"None of this has sunken in yet," said Pfister, who arrived back in West Virginia on Monday morning. "I haven't even gotten back on my feet. I've got a lot of 'thank you's to say."
Arden Cogar, a Charleston attorney and champion professional lumberjack, spent significant time working out with Pfister last fall and spring, concentrating on building strength in Pfister's torso. That included simple but awkward movements such as walking lunges.
"To do Strongman, it takes a special person," Cogar said. "Those events are so grueling. It's the most physically demanding thing humanly possible. I could not do that."