Giants Live 4 – North American Open
We’ve had Britain’s Strongest Man and Europe’s Strongest Man. Now to see who might very well be the strongest man in North America! A few guest competitors will be here too, as the top 3 places will get a guaranteed spot at the WSM!
- Nicholas Bielawski (USA) – 1st place Beast of the Bluegrass 2017
- Josh Reynolds (USA) – 7th place Official Strongman Games 2017
- Nick English (Canada) – Canada’s Strongest Viking 2018
- Kevin Faires (USA) – 2nd place Official Strongman Games 2017
- Ken Nowicki (Scotland) – 4x Scotland’s Strongest Man
- Spenser Remick (USA) – 3rd place Official Strongman Games 2017
- Trey Mitchell III (USA) – 1st place Official Strongman Games 2017
- Evan Singleton (USA) – Former developmental wrestler for WWE
- Bryan Benzel (USA) – 3x World’s Strongest Man competitor
- Laurence Shahlaei (England) – 2x Britain’s Strongest Man, former Europe’s Strongest Man
- Mark Felix (England) – 12x World’s Strongest Man competitor
- Rob Kearney (USA) – North American Open 2017 Winner
For someone like me who lives in England, most of the names here are pretty unknown outside of the Englishmen competing, and the odd athlete like Rob Kearney and Trey Mitchell III who I either remember from last year or have seen at events this year. Funny note regarding Evan Singleton is that they acknowledge him as being a “former WWE superstar”. In reality, he worked in their developmental system for a total of 6 months and has never wrestled since. Not hating on him or anything, but the miss-information presented about him did make me laugh!
Event 1 – Max Deadlift
Who can lift the most? The starting weight will be 340KG, and it will increase until we have ourselves a winner! First man we see is Mark Felix as he attempts 400KG! Not the easiest lift, but he gets it up! Felix has always been better at deadlift for reps rather than max weight, so I don’t expect him to go much further in this competition. A few more guys go and fail 400KG, eliminating them from the event. Shahlaei is next to give 400KG a go, and this should be a fairly simple weight for him. Maybe not the most convincing lift, but he gets it. He too might struggle to get the next weight tbh. Singleton, in only his second ever competition, is going to give 400KG a try now, but it proves to be too much for him. For someone in only his 2nd competition, getting 380KG is exceptional, so a few more years of training and he’ll be making 400KG look easy. Kearney, the defending champion, desperately tries to get 400KG and does it in the ugliest fashion ever, but he DOES get it up! The odds of him going further are pretty slim. Felix is back now for 410KG, and I doubt he’ll get it, and no, he doesn’t. Kearney doesn’t even attempt the lift, so we are left with Shahlaei who can get 1st place if he lifts it, but on this day even 410KG is too much for him, which is a surprise.
Event 2 – Super Yoke
1000lbs to be picked up and ran down a 12m course… then back again! Kearney is unbeaten in this event, and Shahlaei is probably the best in the world and very rarely beaten. Should be interesting to see who can take the win! What makes this different though is that they have to drop it and turn around, then pick it back up again rather than a single run. The second pickup could prove disastrous for some men, as in an event like this, dropping it usually means the end. Current first place is Remick with a time of 20.75 seconds, which is a great time. Felix and Benzel are first up for us to see, and its Felix who gets away to the better start. He takes 3rd so far, with Benzel finishing in 4th atm. Can Trey Mitchell III or Evan Singleton do any better? Both men struggle with the lift, but pick up speed once they get going. Mitchell wins this battle, getting current second, while Singleton struggled a little but still got 5th place. Now for the main event, with Shahlaei against Kearney! My money is on Shahlaei, but anything could happen! Shahlaei gets away to the faster start, and takes first place overall with Kearney a couple of seconds behind for 2nd! Shahlaei is still the best in the world at this!
Event 3 – Dumbbell Press
The massive dumbbell has to be pressed overhead with ONE HAND as many times as possible in the time limit! A difficult event that requires explosive power and good technique! Currently in the lead with 2 reps is Remick, while everyone else who has gone couldn’t manage a single rep. Faires and Mitchell are the first pair we get to see, and Mitchell looks to be good at this event! He’s already got 3 fast reps to take current 1st place, but he’ll need to keep going to ensure he stays in 1st! Faires has 2 reps but is really struggling to get another. Mitchell is still going and finishes with an impressive 7 reps! That number might very well hold up! Singleton and Benzel are the next pair, and I doubt either will match 7 reps tbh. However I could end up being surprised! Both are doing pretty well, getting 3 reps to take them into second place at least. Singleton looks to be done with 3, while Benzel runs out of time on 7 to equal 1st place! Another 10 seconds and he could have got another one no doubt. Very impressive! Can Shahlaei or Kearney go beyond 7? I don’t see it happening, but then again I didn’t expect Benzel to match 7! Shahlaei gets to 4 and seems to be finished, while Kearney matches 7 to tie for 1st place!
3 events down and only 2 more to go. Lets have a look at the overall scores so far!
The battle for 1st place is a very close one, but for now, the defending champion is holding on. With just 2 events to go, its anyone’s guess as to who will finish in 1st. The battle for 3rd place on the other hand could go to a number of men, so that battle will be just as interesting!
Event 4 – Frame Carry
One of the most difficult events now, as the frames are basically giant wooden boxes with handles on the inside. Grip and balance are key here, and balance is very difficult to get right. This event could turn the whole competition upside down as literally anyone could take 1st place! Speaking of 1st, current 1st place goes to Bryan Benzel with a distance of 20.36m. Yes, DISTANCE rather than time as nobody has yet to complete the course! That shows just how difficult this event is! Nick English and Josh Reynolds are the first we see, and I cannot predict anything here. They both drop it early on, but English is able to keep on going to the turn and beyond, while Reynolds is done. English keeps pushing himself and gets to the line in a time of 43.41 seconds! Not exactly a fast time, but given the amount of people who have failed to finish, it might hold up! Felix and Singleton are out next, and Felix might be the favourite given his legendary grip! He gets to the turn with ease, and then powers all the way to the end in 19.50 seconds! Impressive showing from Felix who really needs the points. Singleton gets second so far with just under 39 seconds! He should be incredible pleased with that effort! Remick and Faires go next, and Faires is looking incredible! He even beats Mark Felix with a time of 16.45 seconds! We may have our winning time here! Like almost everyone else, Remick is struggling, but he does manage to finish in just under 60 seconds for a 4th place finish so far! Now for the 2 big dogs in Kearney and Shahlaei! Both men barely make it past the line to begin with, but Shahlaei powers through it and gets to the turn. Kearney has barely passed the starting line and has to give up, while Shahlaei is stuck at the turn. Bad result for both men, but Shahlaei stays ahead of his rival at least!
Before we move to the final event, lets see who falls where on the points board!
Shahlaei takes first overall ahead of Kearney, but that last event means that Faires and Mitchell are within shouting distance of the 1st place finish too. It all comes down to the stones!
Event 5 – Atlas Stones
What’s the Atlas Stones all about again? Oh yeah! 5 stones weighing between 140KG and 200KG must be lifted onto platforms in the fastest time possible! The best time so far is 25.57 seconds by Benzel, and we join the action with Faires and Mitchell going head to head now! Neither get off to a flyer, but they speed up towards the end and Mitchell gets first place with a time of 25.56! Just edges out Benzel! Beating Faires here also means he has a great chance to take 3rd position! Shahlaei and Kearney are out last as they battle for 1st place. Kearney is good at this event while Shahlaei is so so. However, Kearney just cannot get the first stone up at all, while Shahlaei takes 1st place! Kearney does not look good here, and might have injured his hip. He comes in last which might knock him off the podium all together!
A crazy event that has likely changed the podium places! Lets have a look!
Well that seals it; Laurence Shahlaei is the winner of the North American Open 2018!!! Mitchell takes 2nd while Faires takes 3rd, and the now former champion is sent all the way down to #7. Hopefully his injury isn’t serious, and he can come back in fighting shape next time to regain his title!