A once undercover operation is capturing the light as they look to take their passion to soaring heights. Adopting the name Area 51 due to the top secret nature of their gym sessions during the global health panic in 2020, their ambitions are as ironclad as their work ethic. With a long list of accomplishments in the sport, this collection of strongmen can boast to be among Africa’s premier exponents of testing the limitations of peak masculinity.
Founded by Terence Bosman and Tristan O’Brien, Area 51 headquarters has grown from a garage to fully stocked gym and storage facility for a wide range of apparatus. Numbers began to grow quickly and now every Saturday morning between 10 and 15 members turn the Cypress Road plot into a hangout that resembles the refined gentleman’s club with beards, tattoos, brawn and ample humility.
“Its just a bunch of friends having a jol but it becomes like a family,” said Terence.
The banter comes thick and fast but there is a serious undertone to every lift. As well as two-time South African Strongest Man and 2017 South African Powerlifting Champion, O’Brien, Area 51 boasts another two-time South African Strongest man and the reigning African champion, Kelin Mils. The 35-year-old took up the strongman challenge in 2010 as an alternative to body building. He revealed that after the passing of his mother in 2012, who was a fan of the sport, found the inner motivation to elevate himself to the top of the sport.
A promising prospect, 27-year-old Bosman began taking his training seriously since around the age of 19. Having earned a degree in Sports Psychology, he is a personal trainer and along with a few of the experienced heads, helps mould the techniques and nutritional requirements of the Area 51 crew. The team’s dreams may be self-funded but their dedication is unmatched as Bosman insisted, “This is not a sport you can do at 20%, it is something you live and breathe every day”.
A sport that began as exhibition displays of brute strength, it has evolved into a fully professional industry with global appeal. Not as cardio focused as Crossifit but not as rigid as weightlifting, a Strongman performance is the pursuit of finding the limitations of the physical form using whatever apparatus is at hand. The spectacle of many strongman events centres around the use of everyday objects to convey a relatable appreciation for superhuman endeavours.
Also read: Ruimsig strongmen complete the first ever Super Barbarian Challenge in South Africa
The trio (Mils, O’Brien and Bosman) is sponsored by TNT Mercury and while already household names in the Strongman community, the team’s long term goal is to grow the sport and create a wider accessibility that will lead to a swell of spectator exposure. Among other avenues, this done through exhibitions and competitions such as an upcoming display at The Irish Rock Little Falls in February and the South African Log and Deadlift Championships to be held at Area 51 in April.
Also read: Strongmen weight-lift to victory
With nine to fives that encompass, sales, insurance, graphic design and positions in corporate, their intimidating builds hide dedicated attitudes and stoic fortitude. Hoping to one day reach the pinnacle of the sport, Terence notes the only prerequisite is an unshakable work ethic but stresses it is no easy feat.
Area 51 welcomes any newcomers looking for the ultimate challenge and with success comes the recognition of achieving that which is beyond many men.