Another day, another heat! Heat 3 brings back the reigning, defending World’s Strongest Man Zydrunas Savickas! Also competing for a qualifying spot is David Nystrom from Sweden, Benedikt Magnusson of Iceland, Nick Best from the USA, Russia’s Mikhail Shivlyakov, and England’s own Laurence Shahlaei! This is one hell of a packed heat, and will be extremely close between the 5 men trying to join Big Z in the final.
Event 1 – Loading Race
It’s the sack and 2 tyres once again that must be loaded onto the platform. I expect most, if not all, to complete this, so the time will be the only thing to really separate everyone. Well, seems those tyres are a real problem for the first 3 guys, who only manage the sack and one tyre in total. Can Laurence and Big Z get all 3 loaded? The first tyre doesn’t bother them too much, but it’s the second tyre that seems to defeat everyone… unless you are the 4 time reigning champion Big Z who is the only man to complete the course here! The time will separate the other 5 men, and luckily for England, it’s Laurence who makes second place!
Event 2 – Norse Hammers
Very interested to see how Big Z does at this new event. He is HUGELY powerful and I really wanna see how he tackles these 3 huge hammers. A good effort from Shivlyakov who gets 2 in around 40 seconds, but Nystrom is only able to get the first hammer turned. This is definitely a difficult event. Benedikt may have finished last in the loading race, but when it comes to static power he is right up there, as it was last year when he broke the deadlift world record. The first hammer goes over quite easily, but the second hammer is much slower, not beating Mikhail’s time. Nick Best, the old powerlifting champion from the 90’s is unable to get even one over. Disappointing for him. Big Z and Shahlaei are the final 2 men, and like I said, I am excited to see how Big Z does. Unsure if Shahlaei will be good at this event though. Big Z gets the first one over like ti was nothing, and then plows through the second one in almost half the time as Mikhail. Poor Laurence gets the first one over, the during the second one his right arm gives out and the hammer nearly smashes him in the head. Unfortunately the injury was bad enough for him to withdraw from the competition.
Event 3 – Squat Lift
This event is one that Laurence excelled at, but is also the event that caused him to retire from competition last year as well. Let’s hope that nobody else gets injured in this heat, or from this event. My money here would be on Big Z as always, and Benedikt could pull out a good number too given his raw static power. Nystom and Best have already gone, and both were unable to get a single rep. Shivlyakov is out next and gets a very respectable 6. In most other heats that would be a potential winning number, but with Big Z especially, that won’t be enough. Big Z blasts through 9 reps to take current first place, and we still have Benedikt to go who now knows exactly what he needs to try and take a first place finish. The first rep is easy, but on the second rep he seems to have injured his leg, and it does look like we might have another injured competitor here. Yes, he will unfortunately have to withdraw from competition as well. A real shame to lose another competitor in this heat.
After 3 events, and 2 competitors having to withdraw, here are the current scores:
No surprise that Big Z is leading all the way here, but due to 2 injuries it seems that Shivlyakov will be the man to take that second qualifying spot, in what would be an upset if the likes of Benedikt and Shahlaei were still in.
Event 4 – Dumbbell Press
Nystrom went first and got 2 reps. A small number, yes, but this event is always very difficult so even 2 reps can still be a good result. Nick Best is out next, and usually he does poorly in this event, but he too manages to get 2 reps, and with seeming ease as well, before struggling a little to get a 3rd rep for current first place with just 2 men left to go. Mikhail next, and I have no idea how good he will be here. 2 easy reps for him, but can he get another 2 to take first place? Yes! Very impressive! Of course, his first place will only be for a few minutes until Big Z comes out, because we all know he is going to win here. Big Z is the KING over overhead pressing events. 5 reps and he knows he doesn’t need to do any more. Once again Big Z takes first place!
Event 5 – Vehicle Pull
The double decker bus is back! It caused everyone problems in heat 1 except for Brian Shaw who was the only man to finish the course. Big Z will be expected to finish, and based on heat 1 I don’t expect any of the other guys here to finish either. 15m by Nystrom, and Nick Best goes a little better with 20m. Mikhail really only needs to not come in last place here to make sure he keeps enough distance between himself and Best/Nystrom with points. And that is exactly what he does, getting ahead of Best to take current first place with just Big Z to go! I think with one event to go, it’s safe to say he will be joining Big Z in the final. Big Z makes this looks EASY, even letting go of the rope at the end and just waiting for the bus to come to a stop. Yet another first place for the champ!
As we go into the final event, let’s check on the scores again:
Big Z has already qualified in spectacular fashion, and it seems all but guaranteed that Mikhail will join him, though with the final event being for double points, a poor performance from him could potentially lead to Nick Best going through instead.
Event 6 – Atlas Stones
Nystrom and Big Z go head to head, since Nystrom cannot qualify and Big Z has already qualified. Big Z is just practising with the stones, making sure he knows what he’s in for in the final. Nystrom will want to end his challenge with a good performance on the stones for nothing but pride. Both get 3 stones, with Nystrom struggling and Big Z just having fun. Best Vs Shivlyakov now could be a huge upset if Best wins this event and Mikhail doesn’t get a single stone up. But he does get one up and that automatically places him in the final! Well done to him!
And the overall points are:
Despite being 39, Big Z is looking as dominant as ever, and will be tough to beat in the final!!!