“That’s Just Me I Can’t Change”: Diagnosed With Autism at 5, the Reigning World’s Strongest Man Makes a Heartfelt Confession

Published 04/02/2023, 12:13 PM EDT

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The sporting realm is full of inspiring stories of various athletes who reached the pinnacle of glory by trouncing every hurdle that came their way. One of those inspiring athletes who defied all the odds and changed the narrative is strongman champion, Tom Stoltman. The 28-year-old star was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) when he was just 5. Rather than confining himself to the clutches of autism, he managed to push through and came out stronger.

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Growing up with cognitive challenges, while simultaneously pursuing a passion for building deltoids, is not a piece of cake. However, Stoltman denied limiting himself to the spectrum disorder and chose to do something extraordinary. From standing atop the podium of the World’s Strongest Man (WSM) competition two times in a row (2021 and 2022) to framing numerous accolades on his wall of fame, the Albatross has covered it all. Nevertheless, on the world’s autism awareness day, the strongman champion took a moment to share his journey of living with the spectrum disorder and rendered everyone on an emotional rollercoaster with his heartfelt confessions.

Tom Stoltman’s message on world autism awareness day

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On 2nd April, the Britisher took to his Instagram handle to share his heartfelt confession with his fandom. The 28-year-old shared a throwback picture of himself from his childhood, where he is resting his head in the embrace of his mother’s arms. Captioning the post, the Albatross penned, “I always promised myself that I would make sure every day is autism awareness day not just for a month and always be proud of who I am”. He then expressed his gratitude toward his mother and wrote, “If it wasn’t for my family, especially my mum I don’t know where I would be”.

Stoltman then opened up about his ongoing struggles of being on the spectrum saying, “Not every day is easy, sometimes I don’t want to/ I’m too tired to speak and other days you can’t stop me speaking. Sometimes I’ll question absolutely everything and still not know the answer. Some days I’ll make a joke in a serious situation and at the wrong time. Sometimes I find it hard to share how I feel. And sometimes I can be very blunt and it comes and maybe rude”, added Stoltman.

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The Albatross then talked about how acceptance fueled his drive to do something extraordinary. “But that’s just me I can’t change and I won’t change. We are not different, we just have a superpower”, wrote Stoltman.

Nonetheless, it was not the only time when Stoltman pulled off the curtains from the challenges he faced while growing up with Autism. In an interview with Luxury London, he once shared his perspective on ASD.

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The Albatross’ optimistic outlook on ASD

Navigating through autism since he was just a child was tough for the British strongman. However, while growing up, the Albatross found his solace in heavyweight lifts and bodybuilding. The disciplined training regimen helped him to come to terms with his disorder. The 28-year-old asserted, “It’s a superpower, at the end of the day. That’s how I describe it”.

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He further added, “I want everyone to know that it is a superpower”. Though coping with ASD is challenging, Stoltman left no stone unturned to make it through the tough phase of his life. More so, working out in the gym and indulging in other physical activities came to the Brit’s support and helped him cope with ASD. The 28-year-old has indeed caused a stir in the bodybuilding fraternity through his commendable feat and unquantifiable passion. 

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Written by:

Purva Jain

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Purva Jain is a US Sports author for EssentiallySports. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Engineering from Mody University of Science and Technology. Purva is an avid reader and author of 3 books that are published in national and international marketplaces.
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Edited by:

Nidhi Rana

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