In January 2014 an idea was born. A competition showcasing some of the fittest athletes in the region,
competing in an event combining strongman implements, swimming and hard core fitness on the sunny
Cyprus - the island of Aphrodite. The intention was to show the world that the sport of fitness is for
genders and that women can be as strong and fit as they are beautiful. Beauty in strength. Beauty in
Fitness. Once the ball got rolling, invitations were sent out to selected high level female athletes
around Europe. The word began to spread about this unique competition in Cyprus, and soon the male
also wanted in.
By June that year the first Aphrodite Games went live attracting some of Europe’s up and coming
in both the male and female divisions. A 1-day event held on the sandy beach of Limassol, with 5
workouts (2 completely strongman based) ended with some popular names on the podium. In the Men’s
Iceland’s Arnar Sigurdsson just clinching 3rd place ahead of Jonas Muller. A 21-year-old Lukas Esslinger
made sure there was a swiss on the podium finishing in second place behind the shock winner – a Physical
Education teacher from Russia – Sergey Koltovskoy.
On the women’s division, 6-time European Champion, 3-time World Champion, and Olympic Silver medallist
Olympic Weightlifting – Oxana Slivenko from Russia finished 3rd behind a young pre-games era Sara
Sigmundsdottir from Iceland. In first place, taking full advantage of her background in strongman and as
former pro swimmer was Hannah Caldas who came all the way from the USA.
The second Aphrodite Games was held once again on the sandy beaches of Pareklissia, Limassol. However,
time the event was held over 2 days and introduced the team division. The competition while still
implementing strongman odd objects and movements, was transitioned to more of an all-round fitness
competition involving more gymnastics movements, a row-swim-run mini triathlon and a 1RM snatch and
jerk as some of the workouts. In the new teams division, Team Gorilla from Israel stepped up on the
in 3rd place behind 2 teams from Russia – Heroical Fantasy Killers in 2nd and Team Idol in 1st.
Calm, cool and collected - The 2014 winner of the European Open – Jakob Magnusson from Iceland ended the
days in 3rd place, with his major highlight maxing out his snatch with his shades on and wearing a
yellow t-shirt. In second place was the blonde-haired Viking looking German - Joshua Wichtrup. Joshua
shocked everyone on the island with his performance as physically, he just didn't look like he could
with the big boys. He may not have had the bulging biceps and shredded 6pack like some of the other
competing, but he was so precise, efficient and effective with every movement, even his rests were
tactically calculated, like clockwork. The 2015 Aphrodite Games men’s champion didn’t come to Cyprus to
or make any friends. The Russian ‘Terminator’ Erast Palkin had one clear goal in his mind from the
And win he did.
3-time Regional athlete, Marianna Tzourtzek of Greece fought her way to 3rd place on the podium for the
women’s division. In second place was Iceland’s Hjordis Oskadottir, who put in a stellar performance,
despite her best efforts was not able to finish the 2-days atop of the podium. That privilege went to
3rd place finisher in 2014 – Oxana Slivenko, who managed to succeed in what she attempted the previous
2016 marked the year of the revolutionised Aphrodite Games. Limassol Old Port was the new location for
event. An exclusive waterfront development in the heart of the city, between the marina and the Limassol
promenade. The arena was set in the centre square with an 8-lane rig, and direct access to the pier for
swimming events. 2016 saw a lineup jam packed with Games and Regionals level athletes, with over 20
The team division showed a true representation of the multicultural atmosphere with 3 teams from 3 very
different nations standing on the podium. In 3rd place was The Dutch Bunch, just behind Team Cyprus who
their home advantage to secure 2nd place. The runaway winners however were the Polish Beasts, with a
well suited name.
It came down to the wire to confirm the top 3 in the men’s division. Iceland’s Sigurdur Hafsteinn
was a man on a mission on the final day, and gave absolutely everything to finish 3 days in 3rd place.
2015’s runner up Joshua Wichtrup, made it back to back silver medals in 2016 as he once again shocked
crowd and showed that the last year was no fluke. Coming all the way from South Africa was Jason Smith
was consistent throughout and finished the clear winner of the 2016 Aphrodite Games.
The women’s final was like a mini Meridian Regionals, with 7 of the 8 ladies having all competed in
that May. Two women were tied on points in 2nd and 3rd place and we needed to look back to see their
head record wins to determine the final placings. It was 3 times Individual Games athlete - Thuri
Helgadottir who finished in 3rd place holding up the 3-year tradition of a ‘Dottir’ on the podium.
Oxana Slivenko just snuck ahead of Helgadottir to secure 2nd place and complete her collection of
3rd place finishes at the Aphrodite Games. It was a very close battle for 2nd and 3rd place, but up at
top one woman was evidently ahead of the rest of the pack. That woman was Norway’s Kristin Holte.
It has been an exciting journey since the first Aphrodite Games in 2014. Now the time has come for you
create your AG story by signing up for the 2020 Aphrodite Games!