For several years, Wim Hof of the Netherlands, and Jin Songhao of China, relentlessly battled over the title “Ice Man.” The world record for “longest time spent in direct, full-body contact with ice” had been exchanged between them multiple times. In 2009, Hof reclaimed bragging rights in an astounding feat of human endurance: 1 hour, 52 minutes and 42 seconds. Songhao conceded defeat and retired back into private life.


By 2012, Hof’s obsession to beat his own record had thrown his life into a downward spiral, eventually leading to permanent bodily injury and imprisonment. How did things go wrong for the reigning “Ice Man”?

Hof’s Story
April 2010: Hof buries himself in a snow drift behind his house,as part of a rigorous training regimen. An unexpected blizzard blows through the Netherlands. By the time his neighbors escavate him, Hof’s face had permanently frozen in place.

June 2010: Despite his ghoulish appearance, Hof still had money from his pre-frozen face endorsement deals. He proposes to his childhood sweetheart, Nancy, and fattened the offer with a $100,000 ring. She accepts.

October 2010: Nancy predicts they wouldn’t have children, but insists a luxury car may somehow increase their chances to propagate. Hof reluctantly shells out the last of his past earnings.

March 2011: Desperate to buy the yacht that Nancy so wanted, Hof goes underground and resurfaces in Branson, Missouri as a Kenny Rogers impersonator.

June 2011: Hof is arrested for illegally selling Kenny Rogers autographs at a booth he had rented during a Grand Ole Opry convention.

July 2011: Hof pleads not guilty. His attorney argues the multitude of Kenny Rogers impersonators at the event introduces reasonable doubt. Hof is subsequently picked out of a line up.

November 2011: The judge finds Hof guilty of fraud and sentencs him to a year in the county jail. Local reporters claim the harsh ruling was a warning to other cons preying on washed up country music legends, Branson’s second largest industry.

February 2012: On his prison blog, Hof states he gets along with his cellmate, Dion “Be my Valentine” Johnson, because he doesn’t demand big ticket items like Nancy did. He also writes of his thankfulness for the frost bite incurred from years of sitting on ice blocks.