Despite attempts by British Air Traffic Control, communication issues over whether we should leave
Basel airport on the French or German side, all four chiropractors travelling from America, Canada
and the UK to Zurich and Basel managed to arrive at Sursee – site of the TWIF Tug of War World Championships – within about 20 minutes of each other:
a good start to our time together!

Victoria chiropractor, Dr. Mark Strudwick, Moncton chiropractor, Dr. Shauna Dunbar, and Drs. Kaila Alvarez and Rob Scott (from Wisconsin and Surrey, UK, respectively) made up the team and we had a whole day to find our way round the huge and seemingly complex, convoluted campus at Sursee. Eventually we located our tent, got our paperwork sorted out, met with TWIF officials and were ready for an 8:30 start the first morning of competition.

The weather had been a bit wet on arrival and the repurposed corn field suffered due to that which caused fears for how it would hold up. Fortunately, however, the sun shone for the next four days, and the
ground dried-up with hot conditions for much of the competition. Our tent was perfectly placed, but initially had only a mud floor which was cause for concern, but after a few conversations we were rewarded with a wooden floor and a perfect outdoor clinic!

Normally, there is a slow start to the first day, but we got hit with rush hour right from the start and continued like that for the rest of the competition. Fortunately, the Swiss organization had thoughtfully located a bar on the way back to our rooms, so we easily earned our evening pit stop.

On the work side, we treated 263 patients in 4 days and another 91 for follow-up treatment. As you may expect from tug of war, the majority of injuries were to the lumbar and thoracic spine but we had an
ankle and a TMJ to keep the variety going.

People often ask, “who won?” The answer is that there are 12 different competitions and
sometimes there are 2 or 3 “pulls” on at the same time and unless you are able to watch the whole
process, it is very difficult to know what is going on and it is only the raised volume of pitch-side noise
that lets us know a final is happening. Throw in weight divisions among the men’s, women’s and mixed categories and the result is there are actually several winners. But the Swiss, Basque Country and Chinese Taipei definitely came away dominating in many of the categories.

In the evenings they had medal ceremonies which were great fun and the whole tug of war
family, which is quite small, come to celebrate. And they do know how to celebrate! The opening ceremony for the World Championships was also great fun with the Swiss cultural staples of yodeling, alpenhorn, rope skipping and cow bells!

And after 4 hot days it was all over, and we dispersed around Europe for our individual holidays and to get some rest from a very busy 4 days. Switzerland is a lovely country, fantastically green with a constant backdrop of mountains, and often the sound of cowbells in the distance! For more information on Tug of War or the Tug Of War World Championships, visit :

Dr. Mark Strudwick, B.Sc., D.C.

3995 Quadra St. #313
Victoria, BC
V8X 1J8

Phone: (250) 727-7773


Monday - Friday
9:00am-12:00pm & 2:00pm-5:30pm


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