I’m a few days late with this, because, well, I was HYPED for Star Wars and didn’t realise WSM had started! So today you can expect FOUR, yes FOUR blogs all about Giants Live! As always, Giants Live serve as the qualifiers for the main WSM competition, with the top 3 automatically qualifying. The competition has been tough for a number of years now, but 2017 might perhaps be the greatest group of strongmen EVER!
Giants Live 1 – Sweden
Once again Sweden hosts the first Giants Live event! Who are competing today? Lets have a quick look!
Johan Liljeblad – Sweden
Antti Mourujarvi – Finland
Luke Herrick – USA
Joachim Gustavsson – Sweden
Jimmy Paquet – Canada
Martin Forsmark – Sweden
Will Baggot – England
Mark Felix – England
Terry Hollands – England
Benedikt Magnusson – Iceland
Johannes Arsjo – Sweden
Zydrunas Savickas – Lithuania
Some HUGE names there, though sadly Big Z had to pull out before the first event due to a minor injury. He’s had a terrible couple of years with injuries, and had just started his comeback by winning the Ultimate Strongman Masters (over 40) title and the Ultimate Strongman Team title (with Vytautas Lalas). Hopefully he’s in good shape for the World’s, but honestly given his age, the amount of injuries he’s had in recent years and the fact he’s slimmed down a bunch, I’m not sure if Big Z is capable of a podium finish any more.
Event 1 – Car Deadlift
365kg (which apparently becomes 400kg at the top) car must be deadlifted as many times as possible in the time limit!
A number of guys have gone so fa, with Martin Forsmark in the lead right now with a massive 8 reps! Perhaps only Felix can beat that. Hollands and Felix are the first pair we get to see. Hollands, another man who has had injures and even RETIRED a couple of years ago is now back, but he’s just not the same as he was. In his prime he probably could have matched 8 with relative ease, but now he’s struggling to get 6. Felix on the other hand only gets better with age, and gets 12 reps, double what Terry could manage!!! Benedikt Magnusson and Johannes Arsjo are up next. Arsjo is the home town boy, but he’s only managed second place the last 2 years here. Magnusson is one of the kings of deadlift for max weight, but his fitness prevents him from being THAT great at reps. That said, he equals Forsmark’s 8 reps for joint second place, and Johannes “only” reaches 6 to tie himself with Hollands. This is only the first event though, plenty of chances for Hollands and Johannes to come back!
Event 2 – Farmer’s Walk
150KG in EACH HAND must be picked up and moved 20 metres down the course. The big problem here is that they need to move around a pole at the end, rather than putting them down and turning around themselves. The grip will really be tested here!
32.72 by Liljeblad is the current time to beat, with 4 men left. Hollands and Arsjo get to go against each other first. Arsjo has the world record for this event, but even he cannot beat his own time this year, and he can’t beat Hollands either who finishes in 25.56! Arsjo does at least manage to get second place currently. Magnusson and Felix are our final pair. Felix has an incredible grip, while Magnusson perhaps won’t have the fitness to keep moving at full speed. Felix just edges out Hollands for first place, while Magnusson drops the implements and ends up down in 6th place. Mark Felix with 2 wins in a row! A very good start for him!
Event 3 – Keg Toss
18kg all the way up to 25kg, 7 kegs, and a very high bar for them to be thrown over! Unfortunately this event does NOT suit Hollands and Felix, who have been known to fail rather badly in the past. Expect Arsjo to get all 7 over though!
Well, Hollands is currently in second place, with only a couple of guys left to go. He’ll end up with some good points at least. Here comes Arsjo and yep, all 7 go over in 21.76 seconds! Last year he went too fast and missed a keg, which lost him valuable time. This year he is being more careful and goes a little slow. Yep, 21.76 seconds is SLOW for him! Now for Felix, who will be lucky to get 4 imo. And that is exactly all he manages. The 5th keg just won’t go over. Not good for him. Hollands at least gets 3rd place, so good points for him once again, but nobody came close to Arsjo who did all 7 kegs faster than anyone did 6!
3 events down, 3 to go, so lets have a look at the overall scores at the halfway mark!
That event win, and a bad placement for Felix, puts Arsjo in first place by just half a point. Felix and Hollands still doing very well in 2nd and 3rd place, but Forsmark and Paquet are hot on their tail.
Event 4 – Container Lift
Rather than safes, giant containers filled with weights are being used. 150kg, which isn’t THAT heavy for most of these guys, but the containers will be wobbling around like crazy putting everyone off balance. Sadly this is yet another event that does not suit Hollands and Felix.
In fact, it doesn’t suit many people, with a number of strongmen getting ZERO reps, including Hollands. Felix does manage 1 rep, but that won’t save him from a bad placement as others have gotten 3, 4 and even 8 reps, with Gustavsson leading the way with 9! Arsjo and Forsmark are the final pair, and the first we get to see. Both men are going well, with Arsjo making this look easy! He reaches 9 in 35 seconds, then takes his time before attempting a 10th lift for the lead! Forsmark gets to 8 and cannot go further, while Arsjo throws up an 11th rep for the hell of it! Great lifting from both men!
Event 5 – Loading Race
2 tires and a sack. Easy! 110kg tires and a sack which… weighs something but they don’t want to tell us apparently! All 3 need to be moved 10 metres and loaded onto a platform in the fastest time!
Plenty of guys seem to be finishing the event, so its going to come down to time rather than how many objects are loaded. Felix and Baggot are up, and Felix is having no problems. Baggot on the other hand keeps getting caught under the tire when trying to load it. Felix finishes in just under 30 seconds, while Baggot only finishes in 45 seconds. Paquet and Hollands go head to head next. Hollands SHOULD be good at this, but its the smallest man in the competition that is beating him! In fact, Paquet beats Felix too with all 3 objects on in under 25 seconds! Hollands also beats Felix, but seems slow compared to the Canadian! Forsmark and Herrick have a go, with Forsmark beating the incredible time set by Paquet! 23.08 seconds will be very tough to beat; can Arsjo do it? No! Just misses out by a second, and Gustavsson also very fast but missing the winning time by 2 seconds.
One event left, so lets check those overall scores!
Arsjo is in control right now, and looks to have a very good chance of finally winning Giants Live in Sweden. However, A mistake on the stones could let Forsmark slip into 1st! Felix is on point to take a podium finish, while Hollands likely cannot reach that 3rd place overall now.
Event 6 – Atlas Stones
The classic strongman event. 5 stones, all different weights, must be placed on platforms in the fastest time!
4 stones are the most anyone has lifted so far, including Hollands, Paquet and Gustavsson. Felix, currently in 3rd place is the first man we get to see, and all 5 up for him will guarantee a podium finish, though he did beat everyone so far to 4 stones, so I don’t think he’ll need that 5th one, which is good for him as it just won’t go up. Now for the real battle; Sweden Vs Sweden! Arsjo Vs Forsmark! Both will be wanting all 5 stones up, with Forsmark needing Arsjo to have a terrible run. Forsmark is first, getting 4 up fairly easily, but its the 5th stone he needs, and he gets it! 37.71 seconds. Now its up to Arsjo to either get 4 up in the fastest time for that number, but a 5th stone will guarantee him 1st place. Based on previous performances from Arsjo, I think 5 stones is a certainty for him! Well, just 4 stones for Arsjo, but ONLY because he KNEW he only needed 4 stones up in under 40 seconds! No point in risking injury when he’s already won!
And now for the overall scores to see who places where!
Arsjo does indeed finish in first place by 2.5 points! Fellow Swedish competitor Forsmark takes second, and England’s Mark Felix finishes 3rd for that final qualifying place! Hollands misses out on 4th place by half a point, but he still has plenty of opportunities to qualify with Britain’s and Europe’s Strongest Man!