Form for competitions must help. If a guy wins grippers again and again in spite of not actually setting any gripper type records in competition perhaps he's doing enough to win rather than going all out. It has been known for guys who have youtube videos, garage and gyms lifts of amazing levels to fail when on the platform. Using myself as an example and although not an exact comparison I didn't loose gripper events for several year in the UK but only placed in Europe and the US during the same time frame. We might look at records on lifts not used but for which a standard has been set - V-Bar is the obvious one. The less obvious one would be traditional grip Rolling Thunder. Perhaps we need to include bending or some form of wrist test.
There are also a group who amaze and inspire their grip fans. Gary 'Gazza' Hunt is a mad borderline crazy bender of steel but I can't recall him competing. Dave Morton and Clay Edgin, deep setters both, are seen as great gripper guys but again have not competed for quite a while. While still semi-involved (via postings and other strength activities) and so still active grip has not quite the focus it once did for them. I know that I'm not the only one with a photo of Clay's No 4 CoC close up on my gym wall to motivate me. Joe Kinney might also be included in that group and there will be others.
I've avoided discussion of what form has been used for some events quite deliberately (someone who TNS's what another 20mm sets for example). This is why it is easier to pick from those that have competed. While some rules have been adjusted over the past 4-5 years the standard by which we might measure and so pick our top ten has not been too dramaticaly changed to make it difficult to make comparisons.
I asked for the members of the largest grip related site on the web, www.gripboard.com to give me their top ten. I had to filter out a huge number of guys who'd barely seen, if at all, the platform in grip competitions. Big names like Wade Gillingham, Mark Henry and Mark Felix were dropped because they've never competed. Less well-known outside of grip but also dropped for the same reason was Laine Snook, Joe Kinney and Richard Sorin. All three are more than capable of doing very well but have not stepped forward just yet. They also did not get the votes.
Those that slipped off of the top ten, for one reason or another, included outstanding competitors such as Steve McGranahan, Paul Knight and Dave Thorton. Each one has proved themselves in the heat of competition but lost out base only on not being chosen by those asked to contribute. Another day more time to vote and they'd have been included.
Here's the top ten as it stood today (26th Sept 08):
1. David Horne - 10 votes
2. Steve Gardener - 10
3. Chad Woodhall 9
4. Martin Arildson 7
5. Jedd Johnson 7
6. Nick McKinless 6
7. Aaron Corcorran 6
8. Andrew Duriant 5
9. Tommy Heslep 5
The last three all got the same votes so I'll give them equal status of the 10th spot. Plus the votes came from many sources. It might be argued that it's been a year of two since David Morton chalked up so he copuld have been dropped but what the hell. As above some voted for guys who've never competed and others, like Tommy Heslep, seemed to have stopped competing. But this is how people voted so...
10. Ryan Klein 4
10. David Morton 4
10. Josh Dale 4