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The traditional springboard event makes its debut this year at the ESPN Great Outdoor Games and will feature an international field of champions.

Typically one of the most grueling timber events, the springboard requires a number of specialized skills. Competitors must first chop notches in the side of an upright pole. Then they must set their "foot boards" into those notches. Once the board is set, they must climb up onto the board and repeat the process one more time. Now eight feet in the air and standing on a wooden plank sticking out of the side of a pole, the competitors must combine incredible balance and strength to chop a piece of wood that is attached to the top of their springboard pole. Time is called when they have completely severed the block of wood atop the pole.

In a lumberjack sports version of David versus Goliath, 160-pound professional axeman Mitch Hewitt out-chopped a man nearly twice his size to win the 2002 Gold Medal at the ESPN Great Outdoor Games' Springboard chopping event.

In less than a minute, the Aussie chopped two notches up a nine-foot pole, inserted a springboard to stand on inside each pocket, and then proceeded to lop off a 12-inch diameter block of ash nailed to the pole's top. Hewitt did it not once but four times to advance through the qualifying round, the quarterfinals, the semifinals and finally the medal round to take the gold.

Hewitt went head-to-head with New Zealander Jason Wynyard, who stands 6 feet tall and weighs an even 300 pounds. In the semifinal round, it was Wynyard who posted the 2002 Great Outdoor Games Springboard event's fastest time at 43.71 seconds. Yet in the medal round Hewitt toppled his ash block first in 43.87 seconds. Wynyard took the silver in 52.04 seconds.

Both athletes will no doubt meet again in the 2003 Great Outdoor Games in Reno, Nev., July 10 -13, 2003.

Qualifying Criteria

Athletes have been selected for competition in the Great Outdoor Games based on their rankings in the respective disciplines. The top three winners from each of last year's timber events will receive automatic invitations, with the exception of the Team Relay and the Mixed Doubles Boom Run.

Timber athletes are ranked by the Lumberjack Sports World Ranking Association. Rankings are determined by the average of points assigned by regional committee representatives.

2003 registered competitors

Springboard terms

Holes cut into springboard poles into which the springboard itself is inserted.

Slang for "Up & Down" in Australia & New Zealand.