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Bosworth (log)rolls to four-peat
By Sam Eifling
Great Outdoor Games staff

A couple of weeks ago, Tina Bosworth was cross-cut sawing in Oregon when she stuck her saw. When tried to dislodge it, the saw bowed and sprung out to take a bite near her left elbow. That cost her 17 stitches and a gnarly pink scar.

"My doctor, he was great," she said. "He was like, 'Don't worry about it. Guys will dig it and chicks will be intimidated by it.'"

Tina Bonsworth, Jenny Atkinson
Tina Bosworth, left, knocks opponent Jenny Atkinson into the drink during the Log Rolling gold-medal round.
As she stutter-stepped her way to a fourth straight Log Rolling gold medal in the ESPN Great Outdoor Games, Bosworth didn't need a fresh scar to put a scare into her opponents. No, the 33-year-old instead has her nine world titles — a record recently recognized by Guiness — and her infamous size, strength and steadiness to precede her.

She hasn't lost an all-women's log rolling event since 1999. Also, while the other seven competitors in the event hail from Wisconsin or Minnesota and train against each other regularly, Bosworth lives in Idaho and trains mostly with men.

"That's a mental edge, knowing that they don't know how I roll," Bosworth said.

A familiar opponent, Jenny Atkinson, awaited her in the finals, though. Atkinson, 30, said the two have competed since they were amateurs. Back then Atkinson beat her rival consistently, but since they turned pro, with spikes added to the mix, Atkinson hasn't beaten Bosworth.

In a rematch of last year's finals, Atkinson registered one fall against the reigning gold medalist, losing a spike in cedar log in the process. Bosworth seemed to dictate the pace and direction of the match against the fellow schoolteacher.

This was vexing for Atkinson, who has spent the last year building the strength in her trunk and lower body by mountain biking. Just when they hit the big hills on their 6:30 a.m. bike trips, her husband, Neil, will yell to her, "Who's in front of you? Who are you going to beat?"

That would be Tina Bosworth. That gets Atkinson pedaling.

Partly as a result, Atkinson feels stronger, feels like she's rolling better - but Bosworth is still the more powerful athlete.

"One kick and there's no log underneath you," Atkinson said.

Tina Bonsworth, Jenny Atkinson
Bosworth and Atkinson square off Saturday at the Games.
The bronze medal round saw Mandy Erdmann top Lizzie Hoeschler. The two competitors also share a long history. Erdmann trains daily on the logs in the Hoeschlers' pond. Hoeschler focused before Saturday's matches by listening to a Minnesota rock band whose lead singer is Erdmann's brother's best friend.

Erdmann fell first, then recorded three straight falls against her training partner, the last two quite quickly.

"I wasn't aggressive enough and was letting (Atkinson) take control of the log," Erdmann said. "So that's what I changed in the next round."

Hoeschler missed out on a second straight bronze medal in the event, but did record a fall on Bosworth in the first round. Needing just one more fall for the upset of the day, and with spectators calling, "One more, Lizzie!" the 20-year-old got bucked twice in rapid succession on the final, smallest log.

"I was coasting, but I didn't have that high intensity in terms of, 'This is what I need to do,'" Bosworth said of the surprising fall. "Then I got wet, and that woke me up."

It could be a sign, though, that Bosworth's intimidating dominance may not hold out forever.

"There's definitely a mental game there, knowing you're going up against the nine-time world champion," Hoeschler said. "But I know I can beat her, and I will, one of these days."

Final Results — Women's Log Roll

1. Tina Bosworth, Lake Geneva, Wis.
2. Jenny Atkinson, Grand Marais, Minn.
3. Mandy Erdmann, La Crosse, Wis.
4. Lizzie Hoeschler, La Crosse, Wis.
5. Abby Hoeschler, La Crosse, Wis.
5. Maggie Bulk, La Crosse, Wis.
5. Carly Scheer, Hayward, Wis.
5. Katie Hoeschler La Crosse, Wis.