TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Myles Wetzel is a two-time world champion in the Highland Games. He has a number of records, and at 56 years old is working as hard as he did when he was 26.
Myles Wetzel is a man with no quit. He may sound a bit intimidating. He may look a little scary, and you probably can’t wrap both hands around his bicep, but Myles sees things differently.

“I look in the mirror and see a 120-pound guy,” Wetzel said. “I see a very thin guy in the mirror.”

It’s not quite what those around him see, but Myles is talking about himself in high school before he ever lifted weights.

“I was the kid that was in your school that was the skinniest kid in the school,” he said. “I was the freaky, skinny kid who carried the briefcase.”

Now he carries weights, stones and pitchforks. He’s a walking contradiction: a South Florida native who now lives in Tuscaloosa and competes in the Highland Games, a Scottish tradition; and yet it all kind of makes sense.

“The sport came to me, I’m not going to say easy, but my first game I went to, I won every event,” Wetzel recalled.

And it’s that 120-pound kid that fuels his fire.

“I’m still chasing that affirmation to myself that I’m not 120 pounds anymore,” Wetzel said.

There isn’t anything that can stop that chase, according to his friend and training partner Jason Irvin.

“He’s got the biggest heart of anybody I’ve ever met,” Irvin said. “He’s got a big heart that he’s got no quit. That’s what football players and baseball players [have]: all heart. Well, Myles is all heart.”

Six years ago, however, Myles underwent open heart surgery.

“I had the surgery,” Wetzel said. “I have some heart damage, and initially they said I would never lift weights again and of course never throw.”

But ‘never throw’ is never an option for the Highland Games champ.

“After you get hurt, you fall down, so to speak,” Wetzel said. “You can’t stay there. You can’t stay hurt. You have to recover and get well, and I’ve just never thought of stopping.”

Broken bones and countless surgeries (Myles said he’s been put to sleep 23 times) is all sort of misleading. It’s not what you see out there. What you see is a mountain of a man at 56 years old hurling 40-plus pound weights, week after week after week.

“I don’t think about any injuries,” Wetzel said. “I don’t think about another injury. I just think about throwing far.”
“I don’t see a limit,” Irvin said. “Myles will go on doing what he [does], which is getting stronger, until the day he leaves us.”

So he keeps competing, defying odds and expectations for a former-127 pound, injury-riddled, briefcase carrying, Highland Games champion.

Wetzel would like to thank his doctors and sponsors: AST Sports Nutrition, Dr. Brent Tidwell, E. Lyle Cain, Jr., M.D. and Dr. Anne L. Lewis.

Categories: Sports