When it comes to big throwers, there's been few as big as England's Geoff Capes. While his stature is larger than life (6'6" 375 lbs) it's his throws across multiple sports that makes Capes perhaps the greatest all-around strength athlete of all time. But, this article is about the five greatest Highland Games throwers of all time, and his place in history as number four, so we'll stick to the kilts for now. However, when it comes down to it, you have to mention his prowess on the pitch, in the ring and even in the strongman coliseum.
In the shot put, Capes threw in three Olympics, finishing sixth and fifth in the 1976 and 1980 Olympics. With a PR of 21.68m (71’3.5”), Capes was just .47m off the world record at the time. The winner of two European Championships and two Commonwealth Games Championships, it was this shot put ability that helped him write stone records across the sport that still stand more than 30 years later.
A two-time winner of the World’s Strongest Man (finishing second twice), Capes went head to head against some of the historic strongmen of the sport. In all of strength history, few have transcended their respective sports like Capes, especially for his time period. Long before huge lifts and big feats on social media, Capes was performing these at exhibitions and competitions across the world. Whether it was pulling trucks, throwing shots, stacking bricks, or flipping cabers, few have done it at the level of Geoff Capes. Think about it, who is the last strength athlete to have his own video game? Geoff Capes did.
A five time World Champion in the Scottish Highland Games, Capes dominated the stones and shots of the grassy fields, set records in the weight over bar, flipped monster sticks, and was the first man to ever throw a light weight over 90 feet. Capes won five straight world championships (1983-1987), and controversy lies within 1981 when there were two World Championships that year and Capes won one of them. So, some have credited him with five, while some have him as the only man to ever win six world championships. Either way, he’s in the small group of only four men with five titles.
All in all, you could say that if it weren’t for the hammers, perhaps Capes is the best to ever throw in the kilt? Throwing in the sport for more than 15 years, his dominance and longevity in the sport is never in question, and that so many of his stone and shot records stand to this day shows that his impact transcended generations in the sport. During his career, he held the world records in the light and heavy stone (shot), weight over bar (the first man to break the 17’ barrier), light weight for distance (95’.5”’).*
Could Capes be the greatest strength athlete the world has seen? Quite possibly - I’d be willing t argue that, as from what I’ve read, it could have been a very accomplished power lifter if he wanted to. But, for the sake of this article series, I place Capes a strong #4 in the annals of the greatest of all-time. Which, if you ask me, isn’t a bad place to be in!
Open Stone: 65’3” (shot)
Heavy Stone: 53;4” (22 lb shot)
Light Weight for Distance: 95’.5”
Heavy Hammer: 108’1”
Light Hammer: 128’9”
Weight Over Bar: 17’2”
* Records in history pulled from:
**Personal bests list pulled from The Warrior Breed by Dr Douglas Edmunds **