The final heat, with the last 2 places in the final being decided! Here are the 6 strongmen looking to advance to the WSM finals!
Olu Fadesire – Nigeria (1st World’s Strongest Man Appearance)
Peirman Maheripourehir – Iran (2 times Iran’s Strongest Man in 2014 and 2015)
Bryan Benzel – USA – 2nd World’s Strongest Man Appearance)
Nick Best – USA (Best finish at WSM was 6th place in 2010)
Terry Hollands – England (2 times 3rd place at World’s Strongest Man in 2007 and 2012)
Zydrunas Savickas – Lithuania (4 times World’s Strongest Man)
Big Z is BACK after a serious injury that kept him out of competitions for over a year. However, he’s slimmed down a lot and he might not have the same raw power he once had, especially with the injury being to his shoulder. Hollands is also much slimmer than ever, and has been very hit and miss in competitions I’ve seen him in this year. That said, he still managed a podium finish at Europe’s Strongest Man and in the World Truck Pull Championships! Both men on paper are the favourites to qualify, but with Hollands not making it to the finals last year and still not quite being on the level he was before his “retirement” a few years ago, he might be looking at a second year straight where he doesn’t make the finals. Big Z also might not be in the best shape he’s ever been in, but even so its hard to imagine him not making it. The question now becomes who WILL make it to the final, if not Terry Hollands? Nick Best might be 48 but can still dominate certain events, and the other 3 men are simply too new to me to make any real prediction!
Event 1 – Load and Carry
Its those 2 heavy sacks and the massive cart again! 110kg sacks that need to be picked up and carried down a 10m course and loaded onto a platform. Then the 350kg cart is to be dragged back up the 10m course! Only one man had completed the course so far, and that was the mighty THOR!
Fadesire, Benzel and Maheripourehir are up first, and its Maheripourehir who is looking the most impressive here. He was super quick with the sacks, and is going well with the cart, as Benzel is not too far behind him. Fadesire is really struggling though and doesn’t get very far at all sadly. Now for the veterans of the spot as Best, Hollands and Savickas go! All 3 men make the sacks look easy, while Hollands absolutely crushes his competition on the cart, and becomes the second of only 2 men to complete the course! However Best and Big Z get closer than most others in the previous heats. A great start for the Englishman!
Event 2 – Squat Lift
320kg to be squatted as many times as possible!
Fadesite went first and managed 2 reps, with Maheripourehir in the current lead with 5 reps. Benzel is the first man we get to see, and I have no idea what to expect from him here. He’s looking pretty good here, beating Maheripourehir with relative ease despite bleeding from the strain! 8 reps from him is a VERY good score! Nick Best now, and while he was a great powerlifter in his day, during his WSM appearances he’s never really done well in power events. Maybe its the strongman equipment. He does equal 8 reps though, and did well to recover when he almost fell over half way! Another great result from him! Big Z now, and in the past he has been unbeatable in powerlifting events. Sadly, only 5 reps for the legend, though it seems to be more of him losing his balance than not being able to go any further. Now for Hollands, who is not good at squatting. Deadlift was always his best event for pure power. He’s not looking too good early on, but he keeps going to get 5 and tie with Big Z and Maheripourehir.
Event 3 – Fingal’s Fingers
5 massive poles, ranging from 145kg to 170kg. They need to be flipped 180 degrees in the fastest time!
Fadesire and Maheripourehir have been already, each with 3 fingers. Maheripourehir in the lead with a faster time of 29.36s. Benzel Vs Best is up now. Best has good size for this event, and Benzel looks like he could do well too. Wow, Benzel is really attacking this event and is making the first 3 fingers look like nothing! Best on the other hand struggles with the third, getting it over but in a slower time than Maheripourehir. Benzel continues on and does all 5! Only Big Z can really challenge him now as this has never been good for Terry. They are neck and neck, but Hollands actually goes ahead of Big Z on the 3rd. Hollands makes the 4th, while Big Z struggles on it and gets it over with the use of his shoulder, which is apparently against the rules now. Big Z didn’t even seem to know it was against the rules. Seems like some miscommunication perhaps?
With 3 events out of the way, lets have a look at those scores overall:
That performance from Terry puts him in 1st place for now, though not by much. Benzel with 2 straight event wins has him only half a point from the top, while Big Z is only in 3rd for now. But if anyone can climb back up to the top, its the 4 time winner!
Event 4 – Axle Press
A massive Axle weighing 162kg must be pressed overhead for reps! Normally this would be a great event for Big Z to gain points, but his injury not being fully healed yet might prevent him from doing as well as he usually would. Benzel might be the one to watch here!
Fadesire currently in last with 0 reps, and Maheripourehir currently in first with 1 rep. 5 reps might end up being a winning number here as this is a very difficult event due to the awkwardness of the axle bar! First men we get to see are Best and Big Z. Neither are attacking this event with any great speed, but Z is slowly getting reps while Best is struggling to get 1. So much so than 1 rep gets a huge cheer from Best. Z gets 2 but starts struggling now thanks to his injury, then somehow manages to throw up a 3rd rep with less than a second to go! Now for Hollands and Benzel. Hollands I think will get 2 at most, so that 3rd rep from Big Z could end up being crucial. Benzel appears to be injured and walks away with 0 reps, as Terry has 30 seconds left to try and get his first rep up at all. Unforuntately he gets nothing, and no reps means no points. Benzel has torn his right biceps and he has to withdraw from the competition. A real shame as he was looking excellent to that point.
Event 5 – Elephant Carry
The massive 200kg Elephant head shaped piece of steel is back! Strongmen need to pick it up and carry it as far as possible!
Fadasire went first, but only managed 4.75m and has to withdraw from the competition with an injury to his knee. Maheripourehir and Hollands have their chance now, and Hollands NEEDS a good distance, but throws it down at a distance ahead of Fadasire, knowing he can’t finish the group in first, and doesn’t want to waste any energy before having to go into the last man standing crap. Big Z and Best are up last, and Best will want to not only beat Z, but make sure Z doesn’t go any further than Maheripourehir to claim the automatic qualifying place. Big Z doesn’t look comfortable, and it yes, Best has finished in 1st and Z is in third!
Lets check those scores to confirm Best goes through!
Yes, Nick Best goes through! Despite being on the same points, Best finished 1st place twice, with Z only getting 1 first place finish. Hollands make a HUGE error in judgement as Big Z be the last man in the stone pass thing.
Event 6 – Last Man Standing
We want Atlas Stones!
Maheripourehir and Hollands must go head to head first, and whoever wins must face a fresh Savickas, who has been one of the best stone lifters in the last decade! Hollands is definitely the better stone lifter, but does he have the endurance against a younger opponent? Not that it matters, and the winner of this goes against Big Z who will be fresh and basically guaranteed to win. Well, Terry is the one who doesn’t last, and now Big Z goes up against Maheripourehir. The only question now is if Big Z can keep going as long as needed after his injury… but he doesn’t need to go long as Maheripourehir cannot continue. Big Z makes it to the final for the 11th time!
So there we have it; Best and Big Z advance to the final, while Hollands fails a second year in a row. I’ll be back tomorrow before the finals to make a predictions post, so make sure to check that out!