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Interview with Tommy De Bruijn (4/2/10)

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    Posted: 8/24/11 at 7:48am
Interview with Tommy De Bruijn (4/2/10)

Here is my interview with Tommy and I think you will find it is a real gas.  I have never met the man, but have become friends with him on the web through our sport.  A very nice man.  And you will find he is very interesting.  So enjoy and let me know what you think.

 

How old are you?

I am 36 years old. But my body feels 50.

 

Where were you born?

Hulst in the Netherlands. Is a small city just across the Belgian border. In the war 250 years ago this was a little piece of Belgium which Napoleon Bonaparte did not gave back.

 

Where do you live now?

I live in Belgium for more than ten years now. But the border is nearby.. just 10 minutes..

 

How did you end up there?

I married a beautiful Belgian girl and she has her own company  here and I already had a company in Belgium so we decided to stay here. Dutch people easier go the Belgium than the other way round.

 

What languages do you speak?

Dutch which is my native language. English , German and some French but the last one is not that good. I can understand it. Also a bit Afrikaans because this is close to Dutch.

I therefore hope that my English when it comes down to writing will be good enough for everybody to read in this interview

 

How did you learn these languages?

Belgium is a bilingual country like Canada. So when you go to school you learn both languages. Its mandatory. I only went to school here when I was really young. I went back to the Netherlands to school and there German is a second language. Not in the country but on school. Dont ask me why. We fought to get these people out 60 years ago. Some of them still stole my granddads  bicycle to get back.

 

What do you drive?

An Audi A6 . I know its a German car.. But he is fast !  

I also have a van which is handy for al my throwing gear.  I am looking for another car now. A BMW X5 or an Audi Q7. I am looking for something bigger..

 

What do you do for a living?

I run two businesses..

I have a security company for over ten years now.  I have more than a hundred guys working as security guards. In all sorts of security work. Stores, harbor, factories, festivals, clubs etc.

I also run what you Americans would call a Bunnyfarm.. I already had three athletes who applied for a job.

Larry Brock: Bartender

Ryan Vierra: Food and Beverages

Greg Hadley: Wants to work the door..

 

How did you get into that?

I worked the door with my brother and half brother years ago at some big clubs in Belgium. We did good work and were asked on other jobs as well. After a while it was so busy we had to ask other guys to come and work for us. After some years I started a official company and started to do more kinds of other security work. For clubs you didnt need a license more than ten years ago. Now you do. Better this way because in the old days you had a lot of eastern European mobsters working the doors here.

The Bunnyfarm was run by a good friend of mine but he died a couple of years ago and I took over the business. Its a legalized good and healthy business with all independent woman who earn a good living. We do screen all our clients.

 

Tell us about your education?

 

I am a chemical engineer. I studied at a University in Holland and worked several years at GE. A big American company you probably know. I worked at the plastic division. I have many technical diplomas.  I also have a lot of diplomas for security and also studied security management. You can compare this with a universal degree.

 

Tell me about your kids?

I have two beautiful kids. A boy and a girl. Duncan (Mcleod) and Xena (the warrior princess). 9 years old and 6 years old. Duncan plays soccer on a high level but also does track and field. He is quite good with the shot and wfd. I just let him play for now and will start his training in a couple of years.. You will see him one day in the NASGA rankings !

 

Talk about your wife and how you met her?

I am married for ten years now with my wife Sabien. She is a great wife who really support me in everything I do. She is also the organizer of the Belgian Championship and she is also the main organizer of the IHGF masters in Belgium. She also loves the games although she never competed but just loves to be part of it.

We married on 9/11  the day the planes flew in the WTC towers. Not a real great to marry but I never forget my wedding day..

 

As a kid growing up, what was your first job?

I worked at a grocery store. I bought my first motorcycle with my hard earned money.. After my education I worked for seven years at General Electric .. I had a good job there but deiced to start my own business. A risk but my wife supported me and I took a chance.

 

When you grew up as a kid, what sports did you play?

I wrestled, karate and played soccer. I started kickboxing at the age of 9 and competed in lots of games. I even boxed in Bangkok several times when I was between the age of 17 and 24.  I was not bad..

 

Did you throw in school?

We did not do a lot of sports in school. The system work totally different over here. Here you have sport clubs that are not owned by schools.  I wish the system was like in the US. Its a great way to breed talent. I spend some time over at Ryan Vierra place and saw how he coached in college.. Great way to learn the throw.. He does a great job with the kids over there.

 

Talk about throwing shot and traveling to do that.

I started to throw the shot when I was 32 years old. When my highland games career started. Not earlier than that.

 

How did you get into weight lifting and when?

My older brother lofted weights together with my dad. He was a Olympic judo. He was a big guy just like me. Very strong. Bench pressed 364pound at the age of 15 !

He teached me to lift weights and I started at the age of 16.. I was tall and skinny but after a year I started to get stronger and gained weight.. Then I got really motivated.

 

What was your first Highland Game and when was that?

I knew Wout Zijlstra from the strongman circuit. I organized a strongman game several years ago for charity. For kids with muscle diseases. He was a great guy and we became good friends. My wife organized a highland game and I was a spectator and helped out with the games. When the final event the WFH started Wout asked me if I would like to try it one time. More than a thousand people where watching. I threw 16ft Everybody got silent.. from then on I started to train at Wouts place.

 

Who was at that game?

Wout Zijlstra, Hans Lolkema. And several Dutch and Fries athletes.

 

What made you decide to try and compete at a game?

I love to throw and the combination between strength and technique in highland games is great. I think it is absolutely one of the most underestimated sports there is.

 

Talk about some of your favorite games and doing them.

In Holland and Belgian you have some nice games in Destelbergen where the Belgian Championships are. In Holland I like Rotterdam and Tilburg. Good crowd and a nice people.

In Scotland you have many nice small games. Tomintoul, Inverary , Stonehaven..

I never competed in the US but I would love to do that one day.

I once visited Canada in Greg Hadleys hometown of Antoginish and that games was great.. Great town, good people..

 

You have seen the Highland Games change a lot over the years, what changes do you like and not like?

I am what Mr. Edmunds would call a traditionalist. I dont like the Highlander Challenges. My personal opinion is that they invented it for two  reasons.



Some guys would not like the thing I say but as I said it is a personal opinion and I am entitled to have one. We have an old traditional and cultural sport which we have to preserve and cherish. Not f**k up.

I also dont like the change in the WFH with the spin but I can except as an separate event.   

 

What is your favorite event?

The weight for height.

 

What is a common mistake you see people make in that event?

 

Not using their legs. Just bending their back.

 

Do you like the sheaf throw and do they contest that in Europe?

I like the sheaf throw but here in Europe they do not do it often.

 

Who were the first people to influence and coach you in the sport?

Wout Zijlstra. He brought the sport to Holland and Belgium and did great thing for the sport. He coached me in the beginning..

 

Who do you enjoy competing with and why?

My buddy Jimmy who is the recent Belgian Champion. He is eager to throw and gives everything hes got. He is also someone which I can talk on a professional level about training and the sport in general. Also my buddy Wulbert who does a lot to keep up our website and coordinates the athletes for all the games. He is also a good and passionate thrower.

In Scotland I like the American guys like Larry, Sean, Ryan and the little Canadian sasquatch called Hadley..

They are always friendly and willing to help you out.

 

Talk about some of the throws, games and moments you are most proud of.

I loved the two time I became Dutch and Belgian Champion and beated Wout and Hans Lolkema at several games.

I also loved the throw in Destelbergen 2008 at the Belgian Championships when I broke the Dutch record with the Braemar stone. It still stands.

 

What impresses you now in the sport?

What impresses me is that the speed of some events like wfd and hammer throw is still gets more.. Athletes become faster with more bodyweight.

 

Who makes you laugh at games now?

Larry Brock YEAH !! (he knows what this means)

And Koalaboy.. (That is how I call Aaron Neighbour)

Also Scrumbearilicious Ryan Vierra is a great laugh some times.

I love it when we can have a laugh at a game. We are professional athletes I know but a laugh relaxes me from time to time.

 

Your promoting a game this year for masters throwers.  Talk about this game, the people that are coming and the venue.

We decided last year to try to promote a big of bigger game for a small country like Belgium. We wanted to bring the games to a next level. I loved the idea of a class of the legends. Old champions and getting them motivated to compete again in a big international game. I did not had to trigger them because they were already fired up when the heard the idea.  

The games are held at a place where they always have a yearly Scottish festival. Its a great castle in the East of Belgium. Before this game they only had some amateur throwing but mostly dancing and pipes.

 

When I mention these athletes names, just write a few words about them you think of when you see it.

Ryan; Great athlete, good friend, good coach and a person who changed the sport.

Brebner; great guy, top thrower and passionate about our sport. Does a great job with David Webster.

Gundmunndson; great putter ! Never met him but love his throws

Pulcinella; Looks strong. Never had the privilege to meet him.  

Gunn; The greatest and the smallest.. The giant killer. When he stands beside me he is as tall as my son. When you do not know him he is an asshole but he is a good guy.

 

What fires you up now days in the games? 

When Hans Lolkema is there..

 

What training philosophy do you follow in the gym?

Explosion.. Fast and hard..

 

What do you like to do outside of the games?

Spend time with my family. I am a family man.  

 

What other hobbies do you have?

 I am a hard rock and heavy metal fan and I love to visit concerts.

I also collect comics and love to watch movies.

 

What is your favorite food?

 

My mothers homemade spaghetti

  

What supplements do you take?

Amino acids, creatine, whey protein and sometime I use some energy boosters but nothing more..

 

What do you drink with a meal at home?

Water, lots of water..

 

What beer do you like?

I am more of a whiskey drinker but I love some good heavy Belgian beers that are brewed by the monks.

 

Do you mow your own grass and what kind of mower do you have?

 

I have a penthouse..

 

 

 

Do you like to garden?

 

I do but I do not miss it.

 

In America we talk Republican or Democrat.  What would I ask you about politics in your country?

Republic. But Bush was a nitwit..

 

Are you into Astrology?  What sign are you?

I do not believe in all of that crap.. What sign ? I am born on the 10th of September which makes me a virgin.

 

Are you a religious man, and if so, what do you practice?

I was raised catholic. And still am.

 

What kind of music do you like?

Heavy metal.

 

Where do you like to go to eat?

Somewhere where my kids are welcome and the steaks are big !

 

What does your wife think is your best body part?

My third leg..

 

What does your wife think about you competing?

She loves the games. She really supports me. When she is not working she comes along.

 

Lets talk about injuries and how you got them.

I have a bad right knee which I have been struggling with for two years now. I am not competing this year because my doctor has advised me to take a year off with competing to let the injury heal completely.

How I got it is a good question. I twisted my knee sometimes but mostly it damage due to heavy training

 

What do you like to watch on TV?

Series like 24 or Sons of Anarchy and the Sopranos.

 

Are you a western movie or sci fi person?  Tell a favorite.

Absloutly SCI FI.. I am a great Star Wars and star trek fan. Love to watch it.. also Stargate and several other shows you have on Sci Fi channel

 

What are the goals for this year?

Recovering is the priority. But besides that I am still involved with the Dutch and Belgian Highlandgames Federation. Helping out with games and coaching some of the new athletes. But the mail goal is getting ready again for next year. I will be back

 

Thank you brother.

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