Giants Live 3 – Europe’s Strongest Man (Leeds)
The halfway point for Giants Live, and once again Leeds will host Europe’s Strongest Man! This time however, there is no deadlift championship, which would usually eliminate a number of strongmen early in the competition from sheer fatigue from the weights lifted, such as Eddie Hall. Laurence Shahlaei is the reigning champion, but he’ll have his work cut out for him this year trying to defend it! Just LOOK at who is involved in this competition:
Raffael Gordzielik – Germany
Adam Bishop – England
Konstantine Janashia – Georgia
Luke Stoltman – Scotland
Dainis Zageris – Latvia
Matjaz Belsak – Slovenia
Mark Felix – England
Terry Hollands – England
Hafthor Bjornsson – Iceland
Laurence Shahlaei – England
Wow. Add in Brian Shaw and this lineup wouldn’t look out of place for a WSM FINAL. Whoever wins this will definitely be a favourite going into the World’s!
Event 1 – Bus Bull
20 metres to pull an 8 ton bus. Easy!
Or not! It seems that the car park for the arena in Leeds has a couple of little hills, and so far nobody has been able to complete the course! Terry Hollands is currently in the lead with 19.57m. Will anyone finish this? Eddie Hall and Thor are left, and these two are perhaps the only men who could finish it. Eddie is up first, and he gets off to a great start, but that uphill battle (literally) near the end of the course beats even THE BEAST. 19.15m puts him in second place overall so far. Its now all up to THOR. He looks just as good as Hall to start with, but he manages to keep up the momentum and yes, Thor is able to complete the course!
Event 2 – Max Weight Axel Press
They’ll start at 160kg and go up in weight. While some of the guys could press more than the weight they get, the awkward axel will give them problems.
Only 4 men are left I think, with Belsak getting 200kg and 2 men still to attempt the weight. Hall gets it up with sheer arm power, though his left arm took a little longer to lock out. Might have just been the awkward axel that prevented him from being as smooth as he’d like. Thor is up next. Someone the size of Thor shouldn’t be good at this, and a first attempt proves that. However the referee, former 4 time WSM winner Magnus Ver Magnusson gives him a second chance as he was close on the first one, and THE MOUNTAIN makes it look easy this time! Also, a quick note, Just 24 hours before this competition, Thor came down with Bells Palsy. While half of his face is currently drooping and paralysed, the rest of his body is as strong as ever and nothing is going to stop him!!! 206kg next, and Eddie gets a smoother lift this time around, making it look simple. He lifts, he puts it down, and he walks away to prepare for a heavier weight! After taking two attempts at 200kg, can Thor lift this? Yes he can!!! Tall men shouldn’t be good at this event, but Thor is certainly the exception! Here comes Belsak, who skipped the previous weight and is going for a new world record at 216kg! Unfortunately he just can’t get it up onto his shoulders properly. Here comes THE BEAST, and he’s got Big Z’s record in his sight! Thor has settles for second place, while Eddie again easily presses up 216kg and gets another world record! I’d love to see Eddie attempt the log lift world record at some point!
Event 3 – Flip and Drag
One massive tire weighing 450kg must be flipped 4 times down the course, then they must drag an anchor and chain back up the 20m course in the fasted time!
Good to see how the evolution of the sport is right now in 2017. 5 years ago, many guys would have struggled with just the tire, but it seems that most of them are easily able to finish the course in around 45 seconds or less! First guys we get to see are former rivals, now good friends, Laurence and Terry! Laurence might be better suited to the tire, but Hollands’ extra weight will certainly aid him with the drag. They are neck and neck with the tire, but the drag, as predicted, is in favour of the bigger man Terry Hollands. 35.66 seconds for Terry giving him current 1st. Shahlaei isn’t too far behind, but not sure if his time is good enough for 2nd atm. Thor and Eddie are last, and as big and strong as Eddie is, Thor’s size will give him an advantage on both parts of this event imo. Thor is just ahead on the tires, then absolutely crushes anyone else’s time with the drag! Just under 30 seconds and it looked easy! Eddie a little slow, not entirely sure of his placement.
Well, Eddie does manage a 3rd place finish there. Still good points for him. Here are the scores at the halfway point:
Thor leading the way, but Eddie isn’t far behind, and Hollands is doing well too. The title of Europe’s Strongest Man could easily go to one of those 3 men right now, with a few more realistically in with a chance if they do well on the final 3 events!
Event 4 – Deadlift
362.5kg on the bar, most reps in 60 seconds win! Eddie will certainly get good points here with practically a guaranteed first place finish! With Felix here too, that could send Thor down into at least 3rd place, giving Eddie a chance to catch up.
Felix currently leading with 7 reps. Eddie should easily beat that, so its really all down to Thor. Eddie and Janashia go head to head, but we all know who is winning. 6 for Janashia, and Eddie gets 10 (after taking a short break) to put the pressure on Thor. Now for Hollands to go up against Thor. A few years ago Hollands would have been able to likely match Felix and beat out Thor, but these days Hollands isn’t the deadlifter he used to be. Thor on the other hand keeps getting better, and while 10 might be out of his reach, he gets 8 reps in to beat out Felix for 2nd place. Smart lifting by Thor, as Hollands has to settle for 5.
Shahlaei unfortunately pulls out at this point with an injury, so we are guaranteed a NEW Europe’s Strongest Man.
Event 5 – Car Walk
1000lbs of car need to be walked up a 20m course! Shahlaei holds the world record here, but sadly he’s out of the competition.
First up is Hollands against Belsak. We haven’t seen much of Belsak yet, but I’ve been watching him at the Strongman’s Champion League and he’s been dominating there. He’s still young, and in a couple of years time he could become a major player. Hollands gets a good time, as does Belsak, and I think that leaves Hollands in 1st place so far and Belsak in 3rd. Thor and Eddie are last, and Eddie beats Thor and gets a leading time in under 13 seconds! Thor also with under 13 seconds but only good enough for second, but since Thor came in LAST in this event last year, this is an excellent finish for him!
One event left, so lets have a look at those scores:
Just 1 point separating Hall and Thor, with the stones still to come. Thor might call himself King of the Stones, but I remember only a couple of years ago at WSM, Hall not only beat Thor, but everyone in the finals on the stones. He HAS the talent to win, but will Thor be able to pull it out of the bag? Hollands looking good for a podium finish, but Janashia is closing in on him. Last year, Janashia beat out Hollands for a place in the WSM Final, so Hollands will be looking for redemption!!!
Event 6 – Atlas Stones
You know the deal. 5 stones. 100kg to 200kg. Lifted onto platforms. Fastest time wins. Lets go!
4 men left to go, and its Hollands Vs Janashia. Hollands will want to win this battle for redemption and a podium finish. Janashia overtakes Hollands, but can’t get that 5th stone up! Hollands takes his time, and up it goes! Terry Hollands is back and is making the podium! Great finish from him! And now it all comes down to this. Hall Vs Thor. 1 point between them. The winner will be Europe’s Strongest Man. Neck and neck all the way, but a slip on the 4th stone gives Thor the chance he needs to take the win! What a battle!!!
And this is how things ended up overall:
Thor once again Europe’s Strongest Man, just one day after being hit with Bells Palsy! Eddie Hall looked strong throughout and that one mistake on the stones cost him the title. Hollands looking on form once again with that podium finish too. All 3 men are likely heading to WSM final and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see any of them on the podium there.