Big Armenian Heart: An Interview with the ‘Strongest Man of Germany’

Born in Iran to Armenian parents, Patrik Baboumian always knew he wanted to become an international strongman. One of his fondest memories with his father, now deceased, was watching the Incredible Hulk rip off his shirt and magically transform into a green robust monster. At the age of seven, the hopeful athlete moved with his mother and grandmother to Germany, where he began to cultivate his skill for strength.

Patrik Baboumian

Shortly after breaking the German heavyweight loglift record last year, the sportsman achieved the title of Germany’s “Strongest Man.” The current world log lift record-holder in the 105k-category (165 kg), Baboumian has plans to triumph in the World’s Strongest Man competition this month.

The Armenian Weekly’s Lilly Torosyan conducted the following interview with the German-Armenian strongman.

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Lilly Torosyan: When did you first realize that you could make a serious career out of weightlifting and bodybuilding?

Patrik Baboumian: I always had faith in my plans of building a career in strength sports, but initially I was the only one that actually believed it. My mother was my biggest obstacle when I decided to get a gym membership as a 15-year-old. She was worried about potentially bad influences that I could pick up in the gym. Now, she is quite happy that I resisted her and pursued what turned out to be my destiny.

LT: Before moving to Germany at the age of seven, you lived in Iran, and witnessed the Islamic Revolution. How did that shape your life?

PB: I have experienced a great deal of uncertainty in my early life and therefore, I always tend to avoid uncertainty by planning my future.

LT: You’ve been a vegetarian since 2005. What prompted your desire to switch to a vegan diet?

PB: I have been on a vegan diet for nine months now, and I have never felt better in my entire life. Since I have chosen this lifestyle for ethical reasons, I will stick to it—regardless of my career. My daily regimen consists of a lot of soy-products, beans, and nuts as protein sources, and rice potatoes and oats as my energy sources. I also eat fruits and green smoothies several times a day to get all of the micronutrients my body needs to stay healthy and fit.

LT: Many Armenians have proved successful in demanding sports such as boxing, weightlifting, and wrestling. What, in your opinion, explains this success?

PB: I have always had the feeling that Armenians are particularly hardy people and to be successful in demanding sports like weightlifting, strongman, or wrestling, you need to have a big, tough heart.

LT: What are your upcoming events?

PB: I have broken two world records this year and I have won the European championships in RAW-Power lifting (GPA). Next stop is the Log Lift World Championships, where I finished fourth last year and hope to be good for a podium finish this year.

LT: How does it feel to be named “Strongest Man of Germany”?

PB: After I won the title of Germany’s Strongest Man and decided to go vegan, I received a lot of media attention here in Germany and many sponsorship offers from big German companies, so it seemed that my day had come and suddenly everything I had worked for in the last 20 years started paying off. In the end, though, it is just another title and I do not care too much about those. What I really enjoy is going into every new day, trying to outdo myself and be a better Patrik than the day before.

 

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Lilly Torosyan

Lilly Torosyan holds a Master’s degree in Human Rights from University College London and a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Boston University, where she served on the ASA Executive Board. She currently works at an HIV clinic in Uptown Manhattan, where she tries to immerse herself in as many cultural, political, and social events as humanly possible.

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