Cuba’s ‘Ironman’ who hits himself with a sledge hammer

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Cubas Ironman Lino Tomasen performs in downtown Havana, Cuba, on August 8, 2023.— Reuters
Cuba’s “Ironman” Lino Tomasen performs in downtown Havana, Cuba, on August 8, 2023.— Reuters

On a serene boulevard in the heart of Havana, Cuba, an extraordinary spectacle unfolds as a man fearlessly wields a sledgehammer against his own body — striking his wrists, elbows, and forearms.

The spectacle draws a curious crowd of onlookers, who document the astonishing scene with their smartphones. What astounds the witnesses isn’t the seeming act of self-inflicted harm, but rather the man’s ability to emerge unscathed from the ordeal.

Cubas Ironman Lino Tomasen poses beside his car before performing to beachgoers in Guanabo, Cuba, August 9, 2023.—Reuters
Cuba’s “Ironman” Lino Tomasen poses beside his car before performing to beachgoers in Guanabo, Cuba, August 9, 2023.—Reuters 

Dubbed the “Ironman” of Cuba, Lino Tomasen once aspired to be a professional boxer. His unconventional training regimen included subjecting himself to millions of blows from a sledgehammer.

Tomasen reflects on his boxing journey, sharing, “I had 27 matches won by knockout, but I retired because in the last of them, I fractured the skull (of my opponent) and he died instantly.”

As a gesture of remorse, he gave away an astonishing $100,000 to his opponent’s grieving family. This act of kindness looked against Cuba’s economic backdrop, showcases his character.

From boxing rings to streets

Tomasen’s trajectory diverged from fame and fortune as he traded boxing rings for the streets of Havana and its coastal communities. His livelihood shifted to the streets, where he captivates audiences with his performances, leaving viewers astonished.

Cubas Ironman Lino Tomasen talks to his father (not pictured) during a training session in his home in Guanabo, Cuba, on August 11, 2023.—Reuters
Cuba’s “Ironman” Lino Tomasen talks to his father (not pictured) during a training session in his home in Guanabo, Cuba, on August 11, 2023.—Reuters 

With a half-smoked cigar dangling from his lips, the 32-year-old performs pushups on his bent wrists while carrying another man on his back – a feat defying human expectations.

Returning to his sledgehammer routine, he systematically strikes every joint along his arm, evoking both amazement and winces from the audience.

An unconventional legacy

Edward Carbonell, a witness, confirms Tomasen’s genuineness, saying, “It’s all real.” Tomasen’s journey shows his unwavering resolve to inspire others by overcoming challenges. 

Despite passing on a profitable boxing career, he remains committed to his ambition: “I want to be remembered for pushing boundaries.” Tomasen’s story embodies resilience and determination, highlighting pursuing dreams despite challenges.



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