Former Stamp throwing heavy things

Highland Games: All-star finding competitive edge in a kilt

By: Bruce Campbell

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Aug 27, 2014 06:00 am

Former Calgary Stampeder Dmitri Tsoumpas throws the hammer at the Foothills Highland Games on Aug. 23.
Former Calgary Stampeder Dmitri Tsoumpas throws the hammer at the Foothills Highland Games on Aug. 23.

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A former CFL all-star lineman is now curbing his competitive edge by throwing a pole while wearing a kilt.

Former Calgary Stampeder offensive guard Dmitri Tsoumpas finished fifth overall in the heavy events at the Foothills Highland Games Saturday at the Comp.

“I retired from football and I still feel very competitive,” the 28-year-old Tsoumpas said.

“There is a huge void left in my life after retiring. I am used to having that camaraderie around me and it (highland games) gave me a purpose to train.”

Tsoumpas was forced to retire after a concussion midway through the 2013 season putting an end to a short but brilliant career. He was a first team all-star in three of his six years with the Stamps, and won a Grey Cup as rookie in 2008.

Although he is of Polish and Greek descent, the Scottish Games was a natural fit for him.

“Highland Games is something to motivate me from a fitness stand-point,” he said.

“I wanted to get into strength-and power sports because that is what I have traditionally been good at. I had dabbled in some power-lifting and weightlifting but I decided to give highland games a try because it was so different and foreign to me.”

He gave the sport a try earlier in the spring under the tutelage of Rob Young, who is a ranked competitor in Scottish Games.

“I just had a ton of fun,” said Tsoumpas.

“A great group of guys and it gave me a chance to throw some heavy things.”

Tsoumpas competes in all eight events at the heavy games.

He played football at Weber State in Utah and high school in Edmonton, but didn’t throw heavy things for their respective track and field teams.

“This is totally a new gig for me,” Tsoumpas said.

“I have done three competitions, I’m kind of middle of the road. I think I have a lot of upside for the sport. I have the strength for it, it’s just the technical stuff — learning how to spin with the weight, generate power and work on positioning.

“It is extremely difficult if you haven’t done it before… I am just building a base right now.”

He said the caber toss is a “unique beast.”

“A lot of the guys who threw in college (shot put, discus) struggle because it is so different and foreign because of the balance,” he said.

Foothills Heavy Games co-ordinator David Roe said once Tsoumpas gets his technique down, he’ll be harder to handle than Stamps running back Jon Cornish in an open field.

“He is ridiculously strong,” Roe said. “Once he gets his technique down, he will be a real force to reckon with.”

The overall results for the Master’s Class at the Foothills Games were: 1. Rob Young, Calgary; 2. Nathan Burchett, Iowa; 3. Joel Thiessen, High River; 4. Curtis Durocher, Calgary; 5. Dmitri Tsoumpas, Calgary.


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