One down, 4 more to go! We’ve already had the reigning champion Brian Shaw and Canada’s Strongest Man JF Caron qualify, now we have 6 more athletes looking to make it to the final!
Luke Stoltman – Scotland (2 times Scotland’s Strongest Man)
Jimmy Paquet – Canada (2nd place Canada’s Strongest Man 2016)
Dimitar Savatinov – Bulgaria (Best WSM finish – 7th place in 2015)
Stefan Solvi Petursson – Iceland (Best WSM finish – 4th place in 2010)
Martins Licis – USA (Best WSM finish – 6th place in 2016)
Hafthor Bjornsson – Iceland (5 times on the Podium in the last 5 years)
Well, like yesterday, it seems there is only really one qualifying place available as Thor is the odds on favourite to make it to the final. Then again, after his incredible performance last year in the heats, Martins Licis might very well take the second qualifying place with ease too. It’ll be up to everyone else to try and keep up!
Heat 1 – Load and Drag
2x110kg sacks to be picked up and carried down a 20m course and loaded onto a platform, followed by a 310kg cart that needs to be dragged back up that same 20m course! Nobody finished it in the first heat, will that change today?
Stoltman, Paquet and Savatinov are up first. Savatinov is slow as hell with the first sack, as both other competitors are already dragging the cart before he’s even picked the second sack up! However, his weight might give him an advantage, at the very least over Paquet who is the lightest man competing in 2017. When time is up, Stoltman takes current first, and Dimitar does indeed overtake the lighter man. Now its time for the bigger names, with Thor, Petursson and Licis. Brian Shaw probably COULD have finished the course if he wanted to in the first heat, and I think Thor is in the same position here. Its just a question of whether or not he feels the need to waste that much energy so early on. Still, expect him to come first regardless. The sacks pose no problems for any of the 3 men, though Petursson is slightly behind the other 2 men. Thor is running away with the cart as I expected, but after seeing where everyone else is, he takes a break and makes sure nobody can beat him. However, he’s so close to the finish he drags it over anyway. Top stuff from the Icelander!
Event 2 – Squat Lift
Well, hello Squat! Its been quite a while since I’ve seen this event. In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen ANY squat events from any strongman competition I’ve seen this year! 60 seconds, 320kg, most reps win.
Savatinov and Petursson have been and neither could manage a single rep. First person we see is Paquet, and he’s already in the lead with 1, but he keeps going anyway because he’ll need a good number to make up points after coming in last in the first event. He ends up with 9 reps! An exceptional performance, and that might be an unbeatable number here! Big Luke Stoltman’s turn next, though I don’t see him doing too well here. Certainly not 9 reps well, anyway. He gets 4, which is a very good result for him for sure. Licis now, and again I don’t see him beating those 9 reps from Paquet, but he should beat Stoltman with ease. So much for not beating Paquet! 11 reps from the American! That might be a first place finish for him here and Thor, while he is able to put up some good numbers in squat, still isn’t the best due to his immense size. 5 reps is all Thor throws out, which might be Thor taking a page out of Brian Shaw’s book and simply doing enough for good points and not wasting energy trying to compete with men who are much better than him in this event.
Event 3 – Bus Pull
15 tonnes of BUS needs to be pulled down a 25m course in 60 seconds. Piece of cake!
Petursson has gone already and only managed 16.61m. Savatinov managed 20.89m, but currently in 1st place is Paquet with 21.58m. Impressive again for the lightest man to not be in last in an event where body weight usually plays such a huge part. Luke Stoltman should be good at this type of event, and he seems to be going well despite a slip right at the start. He’s slowing down though and probably won’t finish, but he might be able to squeeze out a current 1st place which will land him in good points with only 2 men still to go. He’s really putting everything into it and almost got it over the line. 24.12m, but time ran out. An incredible performance! So, what can Martins Licis do? He isn’t the biggest or the heaviest man, but he’s an all round athlete and should do well regardless. A couple of slips from Licis due to not wearing climbing boots like the rest of the athletes, and unfortunately he only manages 21.08m, putting him behind Stoltman AND Paquet. With Thor still to go, he’ll no down end up 4th overall. Thor makes the bus his BITCH, getting over the line in 35.01 seconds!
3 events down, 3 to go. Here are the scores so far:
Thor and Licis being 1 and 2 is no surprise to anyone, but Stoltman and Paquet aren’t that far behind. Petursson and Savatinov sadly don’t look like they have much of a chance at all.
Event 4 – Axle Press
162kg axle must be pressed as many times as possible. More difficult than a regular bar.
Petursson has already been and managed 2 reps, while surprisingly Savatinov managed 0. I would have expected him to be far up the table in this event! Paquet and Stoltman going head to head now, and this should be an interesting battle. Paquet is struggling to get it up to his shoulders, while Stoltman is getting it there and struggling with holding it long enough for the referee to give the signal. Only 1 for Stoltman, and 0 for Paquet. Both men will be disappointed with that. Licis and Thor should be able to get more good points here, as 3 to beat Petursson shouldn’t be much of an issue for either man. Licis doesn’t get it to his shoulder’s as easy as Thor, but he is able to press it up with relative ease. Both men get 3, and seem to be discussing the idea of making a 4th rep. Thor does, but Licis smashes the bar down on his chest and isn’t able to complete the rep.
Event 5 – Bullion Toss
Those “gold” bars are back. 17.5kg to 25kg, thrown over a high bar in the fastest time. Thor will easily be able to get them all over, and Petursson in the past has been excellent at the tossing events too.
Licis went first and well, this is NOT his event. He could only manage 2. Paquet got 4 over, and then Petursson managed 6 for current 1st place. Savatinov sadly has injured himself and will not be competing in this event or any other now. Shame. Stoltman is the next man to go, and he has good height and power for this event . He gets 6 over, but not in a better time than Petursson. With some practice, he could be even better next time! Lastly, we have Thor, and he’s making it look like child’s play. He throws 5 over and decides to stop. Why waste energy when he’s already got enough points to qualify?
Best double check those overall scores to make sure Thor has indeed done enough to automatically qualify:
Yup, confirmation of Thor’s qualification. Now for the utterly stupid last man standing event where we ignore all the previous events because I DON’T KNOW WHY.
Event 6 – Last Man Standing
One Atlas Stone. 2 men going head to head throwing it over a bar. When someone can’t do it in 15 seconds (or 10? I don’t know any more) he’s eliminated and the next man comes in. The last man standing wins, despite how many (or few) points he got up to this point. Urgh.
Paquet and Petursson are up first. Have I mentioned I hate this event? Because I do. Not only does it make the previous 5 events pointless, but it needlessly tires out the men before the final, and I’ve seen many men over the 40 years of World’s Strongest Man suffer a biceps tear from the stones. And that was just lifting 5 stones. Here they just keep on lifting until they cannot lift any more, due to tiredness or injury. Petusson gives up and out comes Stoltman who almost takes too long to lift it. He’s normally good at the regular stones, but seems to be struggling here. Thankfully for him, Paquet it too exhausted and gives up while Stoltman is still fairly fresh. Time now for Licis who likely would have won on the stones in a regular event, but instead he has to mess around with this crap. Stoltman is slowing down and it won’t be long before he’s done. And right after I write that, he fails and Licis takes the win. I miss the Atlas Stones.
There we have it. Thor and Licis, the two favourites to go through… go through! Great effort from Stoltman, who is just getting better each year.