With all 5 heats finished up, the 10 strongmen who will compete in the final have been decided. Now all that remains is for one of them to WIN the title of World’s Strongest Man 2017! Before we get to the final, its time for my (usually very wrong!) predictions!
Firstly, lets remind ourselves of who will be competing:
Wow. Definitely one of, if not THE strongest line up of all time. Brian Shaw and Big Z, both 4 times the winner of WSM with Brian Shaw the current reigning, defending World’s Strongest Man. Big Z just qualified for his 11th final, and in the previous 10 he’s been in, he has NEVER done worse than 3rd place. That’s right. 10 finals, 10 podium finishes, and 4 of them have been for 1st place. Meanwhile we have the mighty THOR, who for the past 5 years has made it to the podium but never won; coming within half a point of the title a couple of years ago. Eddie Hall is the big British hope right now, with him improving every year and placing 3rd in 2016 with dislocated fingers. Nick Best and JF Caron have been around for a good while now, with Caron typically doing well in the heats, making it to the finals, then never really making an impact. Best was a surprise qualifier this year, beating out both Terry Hollands and Big Z for the 1st place in the heat and knocking Hollands out of the competition altogether. And then we have the 3 younger newcomers who last year made a huge impact with a 4th, 6th and 7th place in the final; those men being Janashia, Licis and Kieliszkowski.
So, just WHO do I think will win the title of WSM in 2017? Well… let’s take a look at some of the likely candidates…
Brian Shaw – Have to include this man when considering who might win. He’s a 4 time winner and the current champion. Its always hard to gauge how well he’s doing from the heats, as he deliberately holds back and just does enough to get into the finals without wasting much energy. Also doesn’t help that I almost never see him compete in any other competitions outside of WSM. It was something of a shock when I saw him appear for the World Truck Pull Championships not too long ago. He came second there, though he did claim he had barely trained for the event. If coming in second place while not doing much to prepare is something Brian is capable of, then it will take a monumental effort from someone this year to prevent him from winning his 5th title to tie with Mariusz Pudzianowski as the most ever.
Hapthor Bjornsson – 5 years in a row on the podium, 5 years in a row not winning. Every year he looks like he could do it, and he has come close, but he has always been beating out by Brian or Big Z. Despite coming down with Bells Palsy the day before Europe’s Strongest Man, he carried on like nothing happened and took back his title from Laurence Shahlaei. In his heat this year he dominated as per usual, putting in more effort to win events and do well than Brian Shaw typically does, so we do have a very good idea of how good Thor is this year. Coming so close for 5 years has to eat away at the giant Icelander, and now with Bells Palsy hitting him out of nowhere and him still winning Europe’s Strongest Man, Thor might be hungrier than ever to take the title and prove that he IS the best in the world and that NOTHING can stop him.
Eddie Hall – Only a few years ago, Eddie Hall looked like someone who would do well in static events, but fail miserably in anything involving movement due to his immense size. However, with each year that passes he shows that moving events are well within his abilities to do well at and win. He might be as wide as he is tall, but the man can move and has far more fitness than given credit. Combine that with his unreal static strength which has enabled him to do what some said was impossible (the half a ton deadlift) and Eddie Hall is quickly becoming a total package in the strongman sport. He is a 6 time winner of UK’s strongest man, doing them all in a row. A 3 times Britain’s Strongest Man for the last 3 years. The greatest deadlifter EVER. One of the best overhead pressers in the world. One of the best squatters in the world. Last year he made the podium, finishing in 3rd place with dislocated fingers. A man like that when healthy is going to be almost impossible to stop. Terry Hollands and Laurence Shahlaei in the past have both had very good chances of winning, with Terry being a 2 time podium finisher, but now it seems that Eddie Hall is the man that could finally do it for Britain and win the first title since 1993 with Gary Taylor.
Normally I would HAVE TO include Big Z in this type of discussion, but sadly I just don’t see him being a real threat to the title this year. Despite having 10 podium finishes and 4 wins to his name, his most recent neck and back injury which caused him to lose almost all his strength in his left arm has left him a shell of his former self. Despite returning and winning a couple of competitions on his way to WSM and still making it to the final, he is clearly not 100% yet and that will keep him off the podium for the first time ever this year imo. A real shame as Big Z is my all time favourite strongman. Hopefully he can stay injury free and continue to fully heal up and bring back his immense raw power for next year. 2017 will be his worst finish at WSM most likely, but 2018 could be a return to form if all goes well.
So I’ve narrowed it down to 3. Shaw, Bjornsson and Hall. USA, Iceland and England. The 3 podium finishers from last year. Based on previous years, and what I’ve seen of the men this year, my official prediction for the winner of World’s Strongest Man 2017 is…
I know, I know, I predicted him to win last year too! And pretty much everything I said about him last year still applies. He keeps getting on the podium and getting so close to winning that with every year that passes and he doesn’t win, he simply wants it more. He continues to get stronger, and based on his performances in Europe’s Strongest Man and his Heat this year, he looks to be better than ever. Brian Shaw last year looked better in the heats than he did this year and he still won, so I’m gonna say he takes 2nd place (same prediction as last year), but with more logical reasoning behind it due to what I’ve seen of him. He won last year after looking great in the heats despite me thinking he wouldn’t. This year he really didn’t seem that impressive in the heats and for that reason I think he’ll have to settle with 2nd place. Eddie will again take 3rd place, but only because the level of competition from Shaw and Thor might still be slightly too much for him overall. Regardless of me being right or not, whoever DOES win the 2017 WSM will have a very good claim on being the BEST WSM winner in history!