World’s Strongest Man 2018 – Giants Live 2

Giants Live 2 – Scandinavian Open

The Scandinavian countries have provided Strongman with numerous world class athletes and winners of World’s Strongest Man too, having dominated HALF of the entire run of WSM if you extend Scandinavia to the Scandinavian Peninsula to include Iceland. While Poland, America, Lithuania and England have been the dominant force for the last 15 or so years, the Scandinavian competitors today are looking to become a force to be reckoned with once again. The competitors for this competition, with some guest strongmen too, are:

  • Andreas Stahlberg (Sweden) – 4th place Sweden’s Strongest Man 2017
  • Antti Mourujarvi (Finland) – Medallist at Finland’s Strongest Man
  • Johnny Hansson (Sweden) – WSM Competitor 2016
  • Jon Olav Granli (Norway) – 2x Norway’s Strongest Man
  • Mikkel Leicht (Denmark) – 4x Denmark’s Strongest Man
  • John Pollock (Scotland) – 3rd place Scotland’s Strongest Man
  • James Rude (USA) – Nevada’s Strongest Man 2017
  • Martin Forsmark (Sweden) – 3x Runner Up Sweden’s Strongest Man
  • Rob Kearney (USA) – Winner North American Open 2017
  • Adam Bishop (England) – =3rd Britain’s Strongest Man 2018
  • Zydrunas Savickas (Lithuania) – 4x World’s Strongest Man
  • Johannes Arsjo (Sweden) – 8x Sweden’s Strongest Man

Another great Giants Live lineup! We have Arsjo, the defending Scandinavian Open champion from last year, Big Z aka the greatest strongman to ever live, Adam Bishop who gets better each year, Martin Forsmark who is constantly chasing down Arsjo to be the best Sweden has to offer, and plenty of HUNGRY athletes who would love to win this title, or at the very least earn a podium finish to guarantee them a spot at WSM!

Event 1 – Car Deadlift

365kg car has to be deadlifted as many times as possible in 60 seconds! A few men have been so far, but the current leader is Forsmark with 6 reps, which is a very good number at this weight. Out first for us to watch are Adam Bishop and Rob Kearney! Both should be able to get to or even beat the 6 reps set by Forsmark imo, but anything can happen and sometimes even the strongest of men simply lose their strength. That seems to happen to Kearney who “only” gets 5, while Bishop takes current 1st place with 7 reps as I was expecting. However, even 7 reps won’t guarantee him 1st place overall in this lineup! Big Z Vs Arsjo time! Big Z, once upon a time, was the greatest deadlifter on the planet. But at 42 years old and some very serious injuries over the last 4 years, he isn’t quite the force he used to be. However he seems to be back in “BIG Z” form compared to last year, which means he’s put on a little more weight again and that should help balance out some of the power he has likely lost with his injuries. Both men get to 4 and seem to stop, but a massive effort from Arsjo gets him a 5th rep right before the time is up, but Adam Bishop has taken the win!

Event 2 – Safe Lift

2 massive boxes weighing a total of 150kg attached to a very long and BENDY bar must be lifted overhead as many times as possible in just 60 seconds. The bar bending and the massive weighs moving around will put the strongmen off balance, so the key here is to use explosive power and just throw the weights up as quick as possible before they have the chance to move around too much. Taking your time and trying to use a more standard pressing technique simply won’t woke here! Big Z went first, and despite getting 7 reps is only in 4th right now. Once the best presser in the world, those injuries and his age are definitely showing, sadly. 11 reps is the current leading mark, so can Arsjo or Kearney beat that? Kearney is struggling, while Arsjo is well known for being great as this event and is way ahead of the American. 11 reps with 10 seconds to go… can Arsjo get another one up… yes! Kearney makes it to 5 and no more, but if he uses this as a learning experience he can absolutely do better next time. Forsmark and Bishop are last out, and will try to maintain their 1 and 2 positions after the first event. Sadly for Bishop, he just can’t get into the swing of things and only manages 1 rep and quits. However he will still be ahead of many men who couldn’t get a single rep, so it might be good tactics for him to quit while he’s ahead. Forsmark does better with 6, but he too struggled and couldn’t match Arsjo.

Event 3 – Keg Toss

A favourite event of mine to watch! 7 kegs ranging from 18kg to 25kg have to be thrown over a 5m bar in the fastest time! Explosive power is needed here, along with good technique to ensure they go high enough while also going over the bar. Stahlberg is the current leader with a great time for 23.30 seconds for all 7! It wasn’t too long ago that a time like that would have meant a new world record, but with the likes of Brian Shaw and THOR, you’ll have to go sub 15 seconds for any chance of the record! Martin Forsmark is next, and he looks like he should be well suited to this event, he just needs to not make any mistakes. The first few go over with ease, then he begins to slow at the last few just to ensure he gets them over. The final barrel misses on his first attempt, then a second attempt… and sadly a third too. He really needed all 7 over as in this company, anything less won’t be good at all for points. Bishop now, and he’s looking good, but taking his time as well. He likely knows he won’t beat the likes of Arsjo, so getting them all over is more important. All 7 are over and he gets current 3rd place! Time for BIG Z, who probably has more explosive power than anyone on the planet. However, as great as he can be at this, he also tends to make mistakes… and here is no different. One of them didn’t go over, but he didn’t know a first, so he had to do it again, then re-do the next barrel because they have to be done IN ORDER, and as such his time is very slow compared to others, but he still gets all 7 and is in 4th place. Hansson takes his turn now, and he is doing exactly what Big Z would have done if he didn’t make his mistake! All 7 are launched over with ease in just 17.07 seconds! THAT is world class! Only Arsjo can beat that time now, and if anyone can its him. I remember one of his earliest appearances at WSM and he surprised everyone by getting one hell of a time on this very event. Since then he has only gotten BETTER. 15.76 seconds! Incredible! Only THOR could compete with that!

As we’re at the half way mark, lets have a look at the points!

Arsjo is on top with a good points lead, which honestly was to be expected. Forsmark is further down than I think people would have been expecting too. Big Z is still in good points to work his way up the podium, but he’s going a little slow at it so far. Bishop is in with a very good shot of a podium finish too!

Event 4 – Fingal’s Fingers

A classic strongman event right here. A massive 200kg pole must be lifted up and turned 180 degrees 4 times in 60 seconds. A little different from the usual set up, as normally there are 5 fingers of varying weight, so 4 at the same weight as high as 200kg will provide a good and somewhat new challenge! 1st place so far goes to Stahlberg with all 4 in 34.53 seconds. A good marker set for the rest to try and beat! Big Z faces off against Adam Bishop in what should be a good battle. Z slips on the first lift, which will add a few seconds on to his time he wouldn’t have wanted, but he’s done well to keep going and is ahead of Bishop who is really struggling with this 3rd lift. Big Z gets all 4 in 44.88 which is good enough for 3rd atm. Bishop could only manage 3 which is a bit of a surprise. Hansson and Arjso get to go head to head last, and Hansson being 6ft7 SHOULD give him the advantage here but Arsjo is keeping pace with him pretty good! Hansson does take 1st place overall with 30.50 seconds, while Arsjo gets 2nd with just over 31 seconds!

Event 5 – Car Walk

An easy event now! All the strongmen have to do is run down a 20m course. What could be simpler? Oh… and they have to carry a 1000lb car with them too. But I’m sure that won’t be much of a problem! 1st place so far with 11.90 seconds is Martin Forsmark, as he tries to get back into a podium position. John Pollock is next and this is the first time we’ve seen him compete today, and he walks right into current 3rd place with a time just over 14 seconds! Can Adam Bishop do any better? After a poor performance in the safe lift and Fingal’s Fingers he’ll need it… and he gets it! 11.54 seconds for current 1st place! Kearney goes next though and that 1st place is quickly taken away from Bishop with 10.02 seconds! Insane time! Big Z gets his go, and I don’t see him beating that time, but for such a big man he’s running well and takes second place with 10.90 seconds which surprised the hell out of me! Arsjo gets slapped a few times for his warm up and now he races down the course in an attempt to gain first place. He misses out but does get 2nd with 10.50! 3 men in under 11 seconds is certainly spectacular!

One more event to go, so lets go back to the points and see who is where!

Arsjo continues his lead going into the final event, with a decent amount of points over Hannson. Forsmark has done well to battle his way to 3rd position, but is tied with the great Big Z who has made one hell of a comeback! Who will take those podium positions when its all said and done? We’ll have to find out with the most legendary strongman event of all time!

Event 6 – Atlas Stones

5 stones. 140kg to 200kg. You know the deal by now, and if you don’t, its pretty simple! Lift all the stones in order onto platforms in the fastest time possible! This event has decided many a champion over the 41 years of WSM, and today it will continue that tradition in unusual fashion as Arsjo has opted to skip this event due to an injury! He is 12 points ahead of Hansson, so depending on Hansson’s place in this event, Arsjo could still win without lifting a single stone!!! The current time to beat is 27.29 seconds, but for ONLY 4 stones. Bishop and Leicht go head to head first, and Bishop becomes the first man to get all 5 up, with Leicht stuck on 4 and currently in 3rd place. Big Z and Stahlberg are up next, and Z will want one hell of a run to take 3rd overall. Both are going well, but Z ends up taking the win and leads overall with 31.85 seconds for all 5 stones. Stahlberg finishes in 46.49 which he’ll be happy with no doubt. Forsmark and Hansson are our last 2 men out now, and they will want all 5 up faster than Z. Forsmark is unable to beat out Big Z which will knock him off the podium, and even though Hansson gets all 5 stones up, he doesn’t do it fast enough to take 1st place from Arsjo.

All 6 events are over with, so lets just double check the points and see who landed where on the podium!

There we have it! Despite missing out the last event, Arsjo retains his title here in impressive fashion. Hansson does well with 2nd spot, and Big Z had a fantastic comeback to take 3rd place overall as well! Forsmark will be disappointed, but I believe we’ll still see him in the WSM even if he didn’t get a guaranteed spot here.

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