This time we are in Leeds, England for Giants Live, and it’s the finals to Europe’s Strongest Man!!!
Eddie Hall – England (Britain’s Strongest Man 2014)
Martin Wildauer – Austria (1st at Giants Live Finland 2011)
Johannes Arsjo – Sweden (2 x World’s Strongest Man Finalist)
Mark Felix – England (8 x World’s Strongest Man Competitor)
Krzysztof Radzikowski – Poland (2rs at Europe’s Strongest Man 2013)
Graham Hicks – England (2nd at Britain’s Strongest Man 2014)
Mikhail Koklyaev – Russia (3rd at World’s Strongest Man 2010)
Vytautas Lalas – Lithuania (2nd at World’s Strongest Man 2012)
Laurence Shahlaei – England (3rd at Europe’s Strongest Man 2012)
Hafthor Bjornsson – Iceland (2 x 3rd at World’s Strongest Man)
Brian Shaw – USA (Former WR holder in Strongman Deadlift – 442.5kg, Guest Competitor)
Andy Bolton – England (First man to Deadlift 1000lbs/457kg, Guest Competitor)
Benedikt Magnusson – Iceland (World Record Holder in Deadlift – 460kg, Guest Competitor)
EVENT 1 – DEADLIFT
Lift as much as possible. Simple!
This year we have something a little different; a world deadlift competition! 3 guest competitors, all world renowned for deadlifting, be it in strongman or power lifting, as well as the Europe’s Strongest Man competitors too! Unfortunately Brian Shaw has to pull out after coming all this way just for the one event, due to tweaking his hip. This event would prove to be both dramatic and brutal for a number of reasons. Brutal because we end up with 4 men out of the competition due to injures. Dramatic because oh wow, we get the strongman deadlift broken multiple times by multiple men and then we get THE deadlift record broken!!! Eddie Hall goes for 135kg for a new British record, and DROPS IT. So what does he do? Goes for it again. And gets it. And is interviewed while STILL HOLDING IT. Damn! Laurence Shahlaei and Martin Wildauer also make 135kg, but now the weight has gone up to 146kg, which will be a new Strongman World Record! Andy Bolton goes at it first, and we know he is capable of more than this, but in these conditions, he is unable to make it. Benedikt Magnusson comes out next, and yup, he breaks his own Strongman record! Poor Laurence attempts the same weight and injures himself. Can Eddie Hall do better? Oh yes! Eddie Hall has just tied the Strongman World Record in deadlifting!!! I am still amazed at just how much better he has become in the last year. The weight moves up to 461kg, which will be a new ALL TIME Deadlift Record! Magnusson is the first to attempt it, and good god he once again breaks his own record! Is there any limit to what this man can lift? Eddie Hall returns for one more lift too and… he GETS THE WEIGHT UP, but drops the bar rather than controlling it back down and it doesn’t count! Absolutely heartbreaking. Officially he won’t tie the record, but the world of Strongman definitely knows that he CAN lift it, and that surely has to be a massive achievement anyway! What a competition! I only wish Brian Shaw was able to compete here as I would have loved to see what he was capable of too. Guess we might have to weight for the World’s Strongest Man final for that!
That event took it’s toll on many men, with Koklyaev, Lalas, Shahlaei and Hall all having to retire from the competition due to injury, leaving us with only 6 men to compete for Europe’s Strongest Man, as Magnusson and Bolton were only guests for the Deadlift event.
EVENT 2 – SUPER YOKE
1000lb Super Yoke must be carried down a 40m course as quickly as possible in 60 seconds.
Johannes Arsjo puts up the quickest time at just over 21 seconds! Everyone left in this competition does well, getting sub-30 seconds times which is even more impressive given the fact they just competed in the Deadlift even before this! THOR misses out on first place by 600th of a second! Good to see Arsjo doing well, I remember when he burst onto the scene a couple of years ago and did extremely well, then every year after that he just seemed to fade out a little. Is he back on form again?
EVENT 3 – THOR’S HAMMER
Hold a giant hammer weighing 25kg with outstretched arms for as long as possible!
We saw a new world record in a very similar event at a Giants Live earlier this year, but I don’t see any records being broken here today since this is a 1 day competition and again, they’ve already gone through that huge Deadlift competition. Hicks and Radzikowski are neck and neck, neither man wanting to drop it first, but Hicks just manages to win by a second! THOR and Arsjo are the final 2 men, and this is NOT a good event for THOR due to his arms being so long and making the weight seem that much worse. However in THOR’S own event, the THOR’S HAMMER, the massive man mountain gets 50 seconds and takes first place! I could not have called that result!
Let’s take a look at the standings at the half way point!
THOR is leading, which is probably no surprise to anyone, especially with some of the bigger names out injured. Arsjo is still looking good and could definitely challenge THOR for 1st place, while Hicks is keeping a podium position for an English competitor alive!
EVENT 4 – CIRCUS DUMBELL
Lift a 100kg Circus Dumbell overhead as many times as possible in 60 seconds with one hand!
This event is usually difficult for guys due to the size of the handle and the technique required for pressing it out with one arm. And after that deadlift competition and everything else? Gotta feel sorry for these guys. Felix and Wildauer manage 3 and 2 respectively, a good number for them based on past performances and the fatigue from the events so far. Radzikowski and Arsjo battle it out and end up with 5 reps apiece, a huge number all things considering! THOR and Hicks are last out, and can either man beat 5 reps? THOR doesn’t even look like he’s fatigued in the slightest, which is incredible. He’s already got 5 at 30 seconds, and gets a 6th in for the current 1st place, but keeps on going for 8 reps while Hicks sneaks in a 6th rep to overtake everyone else for second place! A great showing from everyone, with THOR continuing to look dominant, as he has done in every Giants Live he’s competed in this year. Hicks continues to impress me too, beating someone with such great shoulder power as Radzikowski is a feat he should certainly be proud of!
EVENT 5 – ATLAS STONES
6 Stones ranging from 100kg to 200kg must be lifted onto platforms as fast as possible in 60 seconds!
Normally we only have 5 stones up to 180kg, but today we have a 6th stone at 200kg and it’s the heaviest we’ve had in Strong Man! THOR definitely has to be considered the favourite as he’s incredible at stones, and his size will help him reach around that last stone and be able to place it on the platform much easier. Arsjo breezes through 5, then just makes a mistake on the 6th, trying to put it on the platform a little too early, and it’s not high up enough. 5 stones in 22.61 seconds is a fantastic time though! Hicks is at a disadvantage here due to his height, but if he can get that 6th stone up he will place above Arsjo. He gets the 5th stone up in 30 seconds, behind Arsjo, and doesn’t even attempt the final one. THOR is left, and well, is there any doubt that he WON’T do this? Not in my mind, that’s for sure. He gets 5 up in under 20 seconds, enough for first place and then still goes for the 6th and becomes a record holder in the Atlas Stones! All hail THOR, KING OF THE STONES!!! Another incredible performance!
After 5 events, we just have one more to go, so let’s take a look at the scores!
THOR is pretty much untouchable at this point, and almost guaranteed to win unless he screws up majorly in the final event and Arsjo can get 1st. Hicks seems poised for a podium finish which will be great for him to have podium finishes in both Britain’s AND Europe’s Strongest Man!
EVENT 6 – LOADING RACE
4 125kg must be carried down a 12m course and loaded into the back of a pick up truck!
Hicks and Radzikowski are head to head, to see who will place 3rd overall. Hicks has the points advantage already, and he is going like a train with these weights! He doesn’t beat the time of Mark Felix, but he does finish ahead of Radzikowski and that confirms his podium finish! Well done Graham! And finally we get the battle between Arsjo and THOR. THOR must finish last and Arsjo must finish first for there to be any chance of Arsjo winning overall. Unfortunately for Arjso, THOR is unstoppable, and even beats Felix’s time for a first place win AND confirming him as Europe’s Strongest Man 2014!!!
The final scores:
One of the best Strongman competitions I have witnessed! The Deadlift Championship to start gave us so many new records, making it incredible to watch. From there we got some great performences from THOR, Arsjo (who is looking to be back on form!), and Hicks (who is looking to be a serious contender for top British Strongman in the future!).
This is the last Giants Live event, and the World’s Strongest Man heats will begin on Saturday the 27th, so I’ll be back then!