A Middletown resident brought home international gold in a recent strongman competition with a top finish in a London contest of strength.
Former area firefighter Mike Diehl, who is already a global star in the world of adaptive strongman competition, added to his impressive trophy case after besting all others last week in the “Static Monsters World Championships” in Great Britain.
The latest top win, said Diehl, bolsters his reputation as the strongest one-armed man in the world.
“I won the gold medal in both events, and the overall gold medal for adaptive one-armed athletes, which makes me the 2023 World Champion, and arguably the strongest one-armed man on earth,” said Diehl, a former Franklin firefighter who lost is right arm in 2015 when firetruck crushed it against a wall.
The Middletown resident, who is 42 years old, is a U.S. Navy veteran and former truancy officer with Middletown Schools and former assistant varsity football coach with Madison High School.
His wide acclaim globally has grown in recent years as he has won top-finishing medals in international contests of strength in Iceland, Canada, previously in Great Britain and throughout America.
“I order to compete at this prestigious event, I had to qualify last October at one of the worldwide qualifiers held simultaneously in over 25 countries. Only the top 10 in each class qualified. This is my third gold medal finish in international competition over the last two years,” Diehl told the Journal-News.
In March Diehl, who trains at Middletown’s The Powerstation Gym, was surprised by a visit by a Ukrainian adaptive athlete, who had recently traveled from his native country to compete in a strongman contest in Columbus, made a special side trip traveling to meet Diehl at his training gym of years.
Diehl has long used his fame, which now includes one of the first corporate sponsorships of an adaptive strongman athlete in the sport’s history, to try to inspire others in overcoming life’s challenges.
He is especially proud of his Middletown roots and has a deep passion for the city and his sport.
“To bring a world championship back to Middletown - the place that helped make me this strong - is nothing short of a once in a lifetime achievement. This was my fourth attempt at a world title, and I finally brought it home.”
“After my second deadlift, the gold medal was already locked up. But I went back out for my third and final attempt. I successfully lifted 600 pounds. After I got the successful lift signal from the judge, I almost broke down right there on the platform. I went and hid back stage and cried.”