Every athlete dreams of winning one of the major international STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® titles in their career. The foundation for this kind of success is usually years of training, an insatiable hunger for success and the ability to learn from setbacks and get up again. The only international title to date for Canada in an individual Pro competition is a symbol of this: the triumph of Stirling Hart at the 2018 Champions Trophy.
Not far north of Vancouver is the home of the exceptional Canadian athlete, Stirling Hart. Forestry has a long tradition in the small town of Squamish in British Columbia. So it’s no wonder that Stirling Hart had his first points of contact with logger sports from an early age through his family. Even at a very young age, the Canadian showed a passion for extreme sports. This developed into a career as a top athlete in the TIMBERSPORTS® series. The highlight so far is his victory at the 2018 Champions Trophy. However, the path to get there was far from easy.
A rollercoaster of emotions at the 2016 World Championship
For Hart, the opportunity for his country to stand on the big international stage is something incomparable: "Being able to represent Canada is one of my most meaningful achievements. It’s nice for someone other than me to compete, whether it’s my country or my teammates," Hart explains. The 2016 World Championship is one of the competitions he will never forget. After winning the silver medal with Canada the day before, Stirling Hart had to beat the 11 best logger sport athletes in the world. For a long time, it looked like this would be his evening: personal best times in the first three disciplines, then a national record on the Single Buck and, to top it off, still an unbroken world record for Springboard, which pulled the more than 5,000 spectators in the hall from their seats. This meant that he was only one point behind Jason Wynyard before the last discipline – a very good starting position.
One of the most defining memories for the Canadian. "It was definitely one of the highlights of my career. Springboard has always been one of my strong disciplines and I had been extra prepared for it in the run-up to the World Championships." However, in the Hot Saw discipline, the finale of the event, the rise came to a sudden end. First, he failed to start his Hot Saw and then he was disqualified due to an incomplete cookie. As a result, the Canadian suddenly slipped to fourth place and the dream of winning the world championship was broken. “I’m laughing about the situation now, but back then it was pretty heartbreaking,” adds Hart, looking back on the World Championships.
Less than a second from victory
Nevertheless, this bitter defeat only continued to drive the Canadian and fuelled his hunger for success. Just one year later, Stirling Hart confirmed his impressive form and secured his participation in the 2017 Champions Trophy, now known as the World Trophy. Hart was once again ready to take on the international logger sport elite. Even an injury in preparation for the competition did not prevent him from achieving a top performance. The Canadian prevailed impressively against many of his opponents and was again on the verge of huge success. However, in one of the most exciting and closest finals of a World Trophy, Hart lost out again – this time against Australian Brad De Losa. Less than a second and only an axe cut decided on victory and defeat in the end. "I am still very satisfied with my performance at the time. I did my best despite my injury. In the end, I was very happy to be half a second away from Brad De Losa, one of the best TIMBERSPORTS® athletes in the world," says the Canadian about his close second place.
With an iron will and hard work to a deserved triumph
"The good thing about defeats is that they make you hungry for success and give you extreme motivation. With TIMBERSPORTS® you must not let your mistakes haunt you. If you accept that you have made a mistake, learn from it and continue in this way, then that is one of the keys to succeed in this sport," adds Stirling Hart, looking back on the time after the two setbacks.
"I had planned in my head every step, every stroke with the axe and every move with the saw. When I went on stage, I just had to recall it and fortunately, I succeeded," says the Canadian, explaining his preparations for the 2018 Champions Trophy. In the semi-final, it was another Australian who demanded everything from him. In the direct duel with Mitch Argent, it was again less than a second. However, this time in favour of Hart. In the subsequent finale, he came out on top against the TIMBERSPORTS® legend Jason Wynyard and celebrated the greatest success of his career. The time of triumph for the Canadian had finally come. Simultaneous relief and confirmation for him. "I had worked so hard for so many years. It was a feeling of liberation. I was also very happy to win this title for our Canadian team manager at the time, Gerry Rozo. It was confirmation of all the work, the pain and all the hardship."
The 2018 Trophy World Champion takes up his axe and saw again
After 2019, it went quiet from the Canadian world record holder. After so much sacrifice for the sport, it was time for a break. Stirling Hart did not take part in TIMBERSPORTS® competitions for a long time. This year, however, the top athlete wants to attack again and fight back into the international elite. His goal: the 2023 World Championship in Germany. It would be a return to the place where he almost became world champion in 2016. "I’ve never experienced an atmosphere like the one in the Porsche Arena anywhere else. These were the loudest spectators I’ve ever experienced. I’ve got some unfinished business to settle on that stage," says the Canadian, looking resolutely at the highlight of the season. More than 120 athletes from 20 nations will take part on November 3 and 4 in Stuttgart with the hosting of the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® Individual and Team World Championship 2023. Maybe again with Stirling Hart on the big stage.