World’s Strongest Man 2016 – Heat 4


Heat 4


Britain’s Terry Hollands failed to make the final for the first time since 2005 last night, but can Laurence Shahlaei join Eddie Hall in the final tonight? Of course it won’t be easy, as 5 more men will be battling for those 2 spots!


Laurence Shahlaei – Great Britain

JF Caron – Cananda

Ari Gunnarsson – Iceland

Bryan Benzel – USA

Mikkel Leicht – Denmark

Stan Carradine – USA


Shahlaei, the current Europe’s Strongest Man, and JF Caron will be the 2 favourites here, but if even the might Terry Hollands can fail to qualify, anyone can!


Event 1 – Loading Race


Its those fun large barrels that need to be loaded today!

Gunnarsson, Leicht and Carradine are the first 3 to take on this event. All are new to me, though I think I have seen Carradine in a Giants Live? Neither man are doing particularly well, but Gunnarsson is at least the only person to get 2 barrels loaded for current first. Benzel, another newcomer, gets to go against 2 very experienced men in Caron and Shahlaei. Caron is VERY good at loading events typically, and he is currently in the lead. Benzel looks to be in second place with the 1st barrel but drops it and now he’s lagging behind. The barrels are causing both Laurence and Bryan problems, while Caron finishes all 3. A tough event no doubt.



Event 2 – Hercules Hold


How long can these 6 athletes hold onto the massively heavy pillars?

Gunnarsson only managed 25 seconds, with Benzel beating him by a second. Leicht went just under 30, but it was Carradine who went over 40 and currently has the lead. Shahlaei is up next and will want to get first place if he can. He looks good at 30 seconds, so he could very well be the winner here. He does beat Carradine by about a second for current first, but can Caron beat that? Honestly, I’d put money on Caron doing better, but we’ll see. Well, if only I did make a bet lol. He beat Shahlaei by 2 seconds for a 2nd straight first place finish!



Event 3 – Truck Pull


Ahhh, the old 18 tonnes truck. Maybe one day these guys will move up to some REAL weight!

Carradine went first, and finished in a time of 57.03, putting him in 3rd place right now. Leicht did better with 51.75, but currently in first with 48.85 is Gunnarsson! Benzel is the first man we get to see take on this event. He JUST edges out Gunnarsson for first place! Now can Laurence get another good result here to keep him in contention for that qualifying spot? He is really running with the truck and well, he beats the leading time by almost 7 seconds! Caron is last, and he could very well beat out Laurence once again, but the time Shahlaei set will be tough to beat regardless of who you are. He is close, and ends up with second place with 43.6 seconds! A very good result from everyone tbh, as finishing a truck pull isn’t the easiest of things!



After 3 events, here are the current scores:



Caron remains on top, but 2 great events from Shahlaei have him in 2nd place and if he continues at this level, he’ll be going to the final with the Canadian.


Event 4 – Squat Lift


Squat lift isn’t exactly an easy event normally, but these giant weights on the bar make balancing very difficult. Shahlaei used to be perhaps the best in the world at this event, though he did suffer a near career ending injury a few years back on this very event.

Carradine, Leicht and Benzel have all gone, with 2, 1 and 0 reps respectively. That shows you just how difficult this is. Will Gunnarsson do better than 2 and put himself in current 1st? He takes his time to make sure his balance is perfect, and he DOES manage 3 reps for current first place. A good result for the newcomer! Shahlaei is up next, and he’ll want to prove to everyone that he’s still the best, and maybe even prove to himself that he can do this event and not get injured. He gets to 4 and decides he doesn’t need any more. Even if Caron betters him, second place will still keep him in line for a qualifying spot. Smart lifting. Caron too decides that 4 is enough and he’ll share 1st place points with Laurence. Again, smart lifting!



Event 5 – Dumbbell Press


Time for those 100kg circus dumbbells!

Carradine and Leicht have been and gone, with 4 and 8 reps respectively. That 8 reps from Leicht could end up as the best result! Benzel and Gunnarsson going head to head now, and both look good early on, though Benzel cannot manage to beat 3 reps. Gunnarsson finishes with 6, but could have done more perhaps with more time. Will Shahlaei or Caron beat that magic number of 8? Honestly, I don’t think so. Caron looking the better of the two, with Shahlaei struggling to keep the weight balanced once he presses it. Looks like Laurence will have to settle for 2 reps and LAST PLACE. Not good for the Brit. Caron gets 5 for a 3rd place.



With just 1 event left to go, the current scores are:



Caron is basically safe, but Laurence’s poor performance in that last event means he is only 1.5 points ahead of Gunnarsson. The stones will have to settle this as usual!


Event 6 – The Atlas Stones


The stones are the ultimate decider, and Shahlaei NEEDS a good result if he wants to make the final. Just remember, it was the stones at Europe’s Strongest Man that won Laurence the title there, so he can do it under pressure!

Benzel and Carradine have already gone. Carradine managed 3, while Benzel got 4 in 37.06, which is a very good result for a newcomer. Leicht and Gunnarsson are up, and either man COULD get that qualifying spot with a great result. Shahlaei has to be watching on with a smile and neither men is particularly fast and are struggling with that 4th stone. Both have to settle for 3. Laurence will have to fail spectacularly for Gunnarsson to make it through. I foresee both men getting 4 and stopping there, saving energy for the final. Both get 4 stones up and are through to the final, while Laurence gives that 5th stone a good attempt anyway!



So, after 6 events, the final scores are:



Caron and Shahlaei, the 2 favourites in this heat, make their way to the final. Caron once again pretty much dominated the heat, something he tends to do these days. Well down to Shahlaei for fighting back and securing his place in the final after 2 bad events.

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