Heat 4 could very well be all about the 49 year old Mark Felix, representing Great Britain! He has undoubtably been on the roll of his life so far this year in various competitions, so we will have to see how he does in the 4th qualifier for the World’s Strongest Man! Joining him tonight are Alexander Lysenko of Russia, Gerhard Van Staden from South Africa, Krzysztof Radzikowski from Poland, Latvia’s Dainis Zageris, and Jerry Pritchett from the USA. While Felix has been doing fantastically, it will be a struggle for those 2 qualifying spots between him, Pritchett and Radzikowski!
Event 1 – Loading Race
1 sack, and 2 barrels today instead of those evil tyres. However, I feel they will likely prove to be just as difficult due to their size and shape, and the fact they are difficult to grip. Zageris gets a great time, making the barrels look fairly easy, while Lysenko also gets all 3 to place current second. Van Staden doesn’t make all 3 unfortunately. Next up are the 3 heavyweights so to speak of this heat. Pritchett makes a HUGE mistake by loading the first barrel on the platform but not setting it upright, giving Felix the opportunity to take 2nd place overall!
Event 2 – Deadlift
Mark Felix got off to a great start in the first event, and now he gets another chance at getting good points in his favourite event! So the question becomes, who will place second in this event? Poor Lysenko doesn’t look like he’s going to manage a single rep, while Van Staden pulls out 3 and seems to be completely burned out. Zageris and Radz are up next. Zageris is a new guy to me, but I do know that Radz is a very powerful lifter, he currently holds the record for the second greatest lift in history behind Big Z in the log lift. A good showing from both men, with Radz getting 7 reps, just ahead of the 6 from Zageris. Last to tackle this event is the event favourite Mark Felix and the American Jerry Pritchett. Felix has won 10 out of 11 deadlift for reps events in his World’s Strongest Man career. 7 to match Radz in only 30 seconds, and an 8th to place first. Pritchett gets 6 and seems to be unable to match Radz. More good points for Felix; still the deadlift king!
Event 3 – Circus Barbell
From Felix’s best event… to perhaps his weakest. Mark has never been particularly good at pressing, so thankfully he has 2 good events in the bag and can make up the points he will no doubt lose here in the next 3 events. Lysenko and Pritchett have already gone and each managed 2 reps. Felix goes up against Van Staden. Felix is really struggling and barely locks out for his first rep. Van Staden on the other hand looks to have maybe hurt his back and doesn’t manage any. To my surprise, Felix actually knocks out 3 reps so he is guaranteed at least 3rd place in what is no doubt his worst event! We go from Felix in his worst event to Radz in probably his best event, and Zageris who I have no idea about. Radz makes this look easy, while Zageris doesn’t look comfortable getting the weight to his shoulders, but presses it out fairly well for the first 2 reps, and runs out of time for a third, leaving Felix in SECOND place as Radz makes 4! Excellent result for Felix!!!
So after 3 events, here are the scores:
Felix and Radz are doing well and so far are the favourites to head to the final. Pritchett not quite living up to expectations, while Zageris is staying pretty consistent enough to be in with a shot at one of the qualifying spots depending on how well the next 3 events go for him.
Event 4 – Kettlebell Throw
Well, if the overhead press event wasn’t Mark’s worst event, I gotta believe this will be. That being said, I see this being a bad event for just about everyone. 3 men have gone so far, with Van Staden leading with 5. Zageris matches that result in a faster time to take the lead. Radz out next, and he should do ok as he is a very powerful man, but his technique seems to fail him on the third bell, meaning he would have to get 6 over to take first place atm. He only manages 4, placing him in current 3rd. That result works in Felix’s favour as even if he does badly here, the man in second place overall will also miss out on good points. Felix has a horrible showing, only getting 3, and he takes a last place finish.
Event 5 – Basque Circle
Who can walk the furthest? We’ll soon see! Staden and Lysenko have gone, with Lysenko in current 1st place at just under 40m. Felix is looking good through and powers through Lysenko’s distance, but how much further can he go? 46.7m for him, which is a good result, but how will that hold up? Radz up next, and he knows what he needs to beat. He makes it past Lysenko, but 8m behind Felix. So Felix getting ahead of him here is exactly what he needed. We still have Pritchett and Zageris to go though, and if they could place between Felix and Radz it would be a dream scenario for the Brit! The big American looks comfortable as he goes beyond 40m, but suddenly drops it at 43m. Currently second spot for him, and does indeed place him between Felix and Radz! It’s all up to Zageris now, if someone is to beat Felix. Well, he beats Pritchett, but the dream scenario does in fact happen as he places behind Felix!
5 events down, and 1 to go. Here are the scores:
Felix is now only half a point from 1st, but in a qualifying spot still. That great result for him in event 5 put him back in contention after moving down to 3rd after the kettlebell event.
Event 6 – Atlas Stones
It all comes down to this for Felix. He hasn’t made it to the WSM final since 2007, but at 49 years old he seems to be in the best shape of his career and has every chance of making it into the top 10! Pritchett and Radz are both outside of the qualifying spots right now, but both could technically make it through if they have a fantastic showing and Felix and Zageris do very poorly. Pritchett is going all out, getting 4 stones up in a super fast time, but cannot make that 5th stone. Radz only gets 3 stones up, and that might very well prove to be his downfall and cost him any chance of making the top 2 spots. Pritchett looks to have injured himself on the 5th stone attempt too. Hope he’s ok. And now it’s time for Felix and Zageris. Both men blast through the first 3, then both fail on the 4th at the same time but want to get it up to make sure they get enough points. However I think both are safe!
Ok, time to check the overall scores and confirm who has made it through to the final!
Felix does indeed qualify for the final for the first time since 2007, continuing on his awesome roll this year! But the surprise is that it’s Jerry Pritchett who joins him!!! The stones having double points really does open things up for anyone to get through to the final if they have a fantastic performance and the person leading comes in last!