From 19 to 28 October, Sydney, Australia, welcomed thousands of firefighters from all over the world for the 12th World Firefighter's Games. Launched in 1990 in Auckland, New Zealand, organizers say this biennial celebration is “intended to be an inclusive event that celebrates the camaraderie, heroism, health, fitness and spirit of the women and men who work in one of the world’s most respected professions”.
This year, Craig Stevenson of the CERN Fire Brigade took part in the competition, winning a gold medal in the under 75 kg category. “This is my last year at CERN, and I wanted to do something special,” he says. “I work with a lot of inspirational people, who have really made me want to achieve more.”
In order to compete in the under 75 kg category, Craig first had to lose around 6 kg. “I kick-started the process with the GR5 tour of Mt Blanc: 105 miles in four nights and five days,” he says. “I was then training two or three hours a day, with the occasional day off to recuperate. I initially thought it would be like one of those 20-minute training montages from Rocky, but soon discovered it was going to be a long, grueling journey.”
It wasn’t until the day of the competition that Stevenson realized what he had signed up for: “When I saw all the other competitors wearing their boxing attire, I had a major attack of doubt…But then, three 2-minute rounds later (of exhausting hell!), I was given the gold medal!”