All the qualifying events are out of the way, so now it’s time to get stuck in to the World’s Strongest Man Heats! 5 heats over the next 5 days will take place, each with 6 of the strongest men around all competing for a place in the final! The top 2 men from each Heat will go through, so everyone will be battling as hard as possible for those places!
Terry Hollands – England (3rd place – 2007 & 2011 WSM)
Mike Burke – USA (5th place – 2013 WSM)
Warrick Brant – Australia (3rd WSM appearance)
Tomas Rodriguez – Cuba (1st WSM appearance)
Oevyind Rein – Norway (1st WSM appearance)
Frankie Scheun – South Africa (3rd WSM appearance)
Event 1 – Loading Race
Must load all 4 anvils (125kg each) onto platforms in 60 seconds.
An event all about endurance along with strength more than anything. Lifting 125kg around isn’t the hardest thing for these guys, but lifting up 4, running with them and loading them onto a platform one at a time is going to tire them out pretty quickly. Scheun sets a good time in the first of 2 groups with 38.26 seconds. In the second group, both Hollands and Burke are the favourites, and it’s Burke who comes out on top, beating Scheun by a second, with Hollands only managing 4th place! Not a good start for the Englishman, but a great start for Mike Burke!
Event 2 – Truck Pull
Pull a 12 tonne truck down a 30 meter course in 60 seconds.
Terry Hollands didn’t start well, but the truck pull is a signature event for him so expect him to pick up some good points here. Burke is likely the only person to really topple Hollands in this event here, but anything can happen! Terry is getting old and has been doing strongman for 10 years, and has been up and down from what I’ve seen of him in other competitions this year, so it might just be a case of him being out of his prime now and being passed by. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see! 43.40 is the time to beat, and Burke is up next with a gret run, finishing in 38.71 seconds! Hollands is really going to have to dig deep if he plans on staying in the competition! Frankie Scheun is before Terry, and while he doesn’t look like the biggest guy, he IS a former 2 x Southern Hemisphere’s Strongest Man and might just pull out an upset. His technique isn’t the best as he isn’t as low as he perhaps should be, and only manages 44.31 for a current 3rd place, giving Terry a possible better chance of winning. Out last is Terry, as this is HIS event. But can he keep it as HIS, or is it time for him to give it up and let the younger athletes have their chance? NO CHANCE IN HELL! 34.08 seconds and Terry Hollands remains one of the best in the world at Truck Pulling, and makes up for the poor start in the first event!
Event 3 – Squat Lift
Weight ranges from 280 to 370kg. Every time they do a squat, another barrel is loaded onto the apparatus, and they must complete all weights in 60 seconds.
A good event for Hollands is followed up with a somewhat bad event in the squat lift. Bigger men tend to have more problems here, and it’s never been one of Terry’s strong events because of that. This event would be even worse for Frankie Scheun who tears his quad and has to retire from the competition. A real shame for him, but will open up the competition for someone like Warrick Brant to potentially climb up the leaderboard. I said that being a bigger man is a disadvantage here, but the giant Mike Burke still busts out an impressive 6 squats, showing that sometimes pure strength and determination can overcome anything! Can Hollands reproduce that, or even go 1 further? 5 is all Terry gets, but seems to be more tactical than anything. He knew he was already slower than Mike, and knew he wouldn’t get 7 squats, so staying on 5 and getting second place without wasting more energy could be the smart move. However Warrick Brant is still to come and I have a feeling he might get all 8! And he does! That was a great performance and something that I was expecting, good to see him do well in an event he was expected to do well in!
We are at the half way point, and this is how the leaderboard currently looks:
Burke has a 3 point lead in first place, with Terry still in second place looking good for another WSM final. Warrick Brant, with his win in the squat lift and the unfortunate injury to Scheun has jumped up into 3rd place and is breathing down Terry’s neck. I’d put money on Burke going through for sure, but it’s hard to predict if Hollands can make it to his 9th consecutive final or not!
Event 4 – Super Yoke
Run a 25 meter course carrying a 455kg yoke in the fastest time within 60 seconds!
This is another event that should favour Hollands and Burke, and hopefully Terry can get a good place here to keep the distance between him and Brant. Hollands and Brant go head to head and Terry finishes in 17 seconds with Brant a whole 10 seconds behind! Exactly what Terry needed to happen here, now we just need to see what Burke can do, and if Tomas can maybe even get between Terry and Brant too. A slow start for both Tomas and Burke, and it looks good for Terry! 17 seconds come and go with neither man at the finish line! Burke finishes at around 24 seconds, in between Terry and Brant, which is just more good news for the Englishman! He’s now 4 points ahead of Brant with 2 events still to go.
Event 5 – Overhead lift
Get as many reps as possible in 60 seconds with a 150kg log!
Well Hollands is got to be pleased with his 4 point lead on Brant right now because his overhead strength isn’t as good as he would like. I’d say he’ll get 5 here, so Brant likely has a chance to close that points gap a little before the final event. As I wrote that, Brant reaches 5 as the time runs out. If Hollands can at least match that he’ll still be in a good position. Burke should easily get the win here though and continue his great form in the competition so far. Poor Terry looks uncomfortable after just 1 rep, and I’m starting to think that 5 might be too much for him. Burke on the other hand is going like a train and gets his 6th for the win, while Terry is stuck on 3. Bad showing for him, but Burke continues to look strong.
Before we go into the final event, let’s see what the scores are!
Mike Burke is all but confirmed for the final now. Hollands is still in second place, but his 4 point lead has gone down to 2 and a half, so this final event is going to be crucial for the man from Dartford! Brant needs to put in a good performance to qualify, and he is certainly capable of it!
Event 6 – Atlas Stones
Lift all 5 stones onto platforms, weighing from 130kg to 185kg, within 60 seconds as fast as you can!
The final event, and it’s the classic Atlas Stones event! Terry Hollands and Warrick Brant are the two to watch here, with Burke already qualifying by simply placing 1 stone on a platform, and the other men being unable to qualify regardless of their performances. Terry might not be the fastest Stone man around, but he is good at this event, and his extra height will give him a slight advantage. Technically this event should be in the bag for Terry, but Brant can taste a WSM final and will do everything he has to in order to qualify! Hollands is looking to qualify for a 9th time, while Brant is trying to make it to his FIRST final! TENSION~! Oh my! Terry makes a mistake on the second stone and drops it! Brant is in the lead, but even a second place for Terry will allow him to qualify, and that is exactly what happens! Well done Terry!
Here are the final standings:
Well done to Mike Burke who was impressive throughout, and congratulations to Terry Hollands for coming through at the end and qualifying for a record 9th consecutive WSM final! Warrick Brant did a tremendous job and was so close to making his first final, so he will be disappointed with that, but at the same time should be proud of his performance here! Next year might be his year to make it into the final for sure!