A JMU Alum Is the 5th Strongest Man in the World
Well, technically I’m not sure that headline is correct. However, Mike Jenkins, a 2004 graduate of JMU, finished fifth in the 2012 World’s Strongest Man held in September and October of last year. How the hell did we miss this? I don’t think I’ll ever spend my free time deadlifting cars or hauling atlas stones (not that I couldn’t), but I’ve logged countless hours of couch time watching Magnus Ver Magnusson and the like. So that means me and Mike are practically like twins. Or at least we both graduated from the same college or something.
In any case, a good friend of ours was watching World’s Strongest Man last weekend and he immediately called when the announcers mentioned that Jenkins was a graduate of James Madison University. And then he followed up by sending us this cool interview with Mike in which we learned that he was the same Mike Jenkins who played on JMU’s 2004 National Championship team. I remember reading something about a JMU grad who was one of the top amateur strongmen in the country a few years ago. It turns out I was reading about Mike and things have changed dramatically since then. He is no longer one of the top amateurs competing in the U.S. He’s now a pro and one of the top strongmen in the world. In addition to finishing 5th in the World’s Strongest Man, Jenkins won the 2012 Arnold Strongman Classic and Giants Live events. One year earlier, he was actually leading the World’s Strongest Man after two events, but had to withdraw due to injury. And he’s 6’6″ and 175KG. I know nothing about the metric system, but I’m fairly certain that’s huge.
We did a little bit more digging and like any good JMU grad, Jenkins seems like a great guy who looks back fondly at his time on campus. In this other Q&A it seems obvious he also bleeds purple and is ridiculously (and rightfully) proud of his team’s championship in 2004. In addition to dropping a funny little nugget about former JMU strength coach Jim Dunning banning him from UREC, he had this to say about the 2004 Dukes:
I played at JMU, the old 1AA, now called Football Bowl Subdivision, so we had a playoff system. We went into the playoffs on the road, winning every game on the road, 4-0, making us the first and I THINK last team to do that! I’m pretty sure that makes the 2004 JMU Dukes the best team in college football history, yea I just said that USC, Miami and Texas! To be able to play my last game as a senior on ESPN, win as the underdog was unreal. Out of all the IAA teams ONE ends the season on top, not like half the IA teams with their bowl games and at the end of the day we were on top looking down at the rest of them. I still think about it to this day. And if you want to see some sick “bling”… I got some finger hardware to show you!
I happen to agree with him. Even if I didn’t, I’d probably keep it to myself though.