Its time! 5 heats, and 10 places up for grabs for the World’s Strongest Man FINALS! Eddie Hall, last years winner, has retired from World’s competition, leaving the title free for a new champion. So who are the 6 people battling for 2 of those qualifying places?
- Marius Lalas (Lithuania)
- Peiman Maheripourehir (Iran) – 2x Iran’s Strongest Man
- Matjaz Belsak (Slovenia) – 5x Slovenia’s Strongest Man
- Rob Kearney (USA)
- Laurence Shahlaei (England) – Europe’s Strongest Man 2016
- Hafthor Julius Bjornsson (Iceland) – 3x WSM Runner up, 4x Europe’s Strongest Man
Event 1 – Load & Carry
What an event to start things off with! 2 massive sacks weight 150KG each must be lifted and carried down the 12m course and loaded onto a platform at the end. Once that’s done, they then have to run back down the 12m course carrying 2 159KG farmer’s walk implements! Lalas, Maheripourehir and Belsak go first, and WOW, Maheripourehir is off to a flyer, and has almost finished the course before the other 2 men have even started the farmer’s walk part! Can our next 3 athletes do any better than that? The mighty THOR will no doubt be the favourite here, but that time of 36.95 by Maheripourehir was incredible! Thor does indeed beat the time by a few seconds, while Shahlaei has to settle for 3rd place here. Kearney did very poorly, which I was surprised by.
Event 2 – Circle of Strength
300KG attached to a metal bar must be lifted up and walked around a circle as many times as possible. Often a bad event for most athletes, but THOR is extremely well suited to this event as he can lift the bar much higher than everyone else which will give him the biggest advantage. Maheripourehir went first but only managed 90 degrees. Kearney with 351 degrees is in second, and 572 degrees puts Lalas in current 1st. Already the placements are completely different from the first event. Now we join the action with Belsak, and he is going very well, moving into second place with ease, and just failing to get first with 529 degrees. A good result from him. Shahlaei will have to pull out something special here as his massive chest is not suited to this event. He struggles a ton and only manages 233 degrees before having to put it down so he doesn’t pass out. Finally we have the mighty THOR who should walk away with 1st place here unless he makes a mistake. 612 is his score and he knows he has 1st place. No need to go any further than that!
Event 3 – Squat Lift
I think this might be the first time I’ve seen the Squat Lift event this year at any of the shows I’ve been able to catch! Athletes will need to complete 7 reps in the fastest time, with the first rep weighing 270KG, then increasing each time until they reach the final rep of 360KG. Normally an excellent event for Shahlaei, who really needs to make up for the last event, however he has suffered horrible injuries in the past as well, which have to weigh on his mind as he attempts these lifts. Maheripourehir currently leading with all 7 lifts in just over 40 seconds. We join the action with the man himself, Laurence Shahlaei! He makes a mistake right away though by going too early for the second lift, and lifting before the second barrel was placed in! He does still beat Maheripourehir with a time of 29 seconds though! Time for Rob Kearney, who is unknown to me with squat. Or at least I’ve forgotten completely haha. This doesn’t seem to be his best event as he’s fairly slow, but a great effort from him to get all 7 which is enough for only 3rd place right now. Belsak now, and he’s doing much faster than Kearney, but it only matters how fast he gets the 7th rep done. Just behind Shahlaei, but just over 30 seconds is a great time. Lalas is next, and he looks good too. In fact, he BEATS Shahlaei by a second! To do that is truly impressive, and not something most men can do! Lastly we have THOR. His size is usually bad for an event like this, but he’s overcome that over the years with sheer power. Not only that, but he beats Lalas’ time to finish 1st for a third straight event! Shahlaei will regret that extra rep no doubt.
3 events down means we’re at the half way point! Time to check the scores!
THOR is basically untouchable now, and would have to come in last place for the next 2 events to be realistically knocked out of the competition. Lalas, Belsak, Shahlaei and Maheripourehir are all battling for the 2nd place, and even Kearney is in which a shot if he can score big on the next 2 events. Sadly they are continuing from last year where the final event is a knockout type event between everyone from 2nd position to 5th position, with the man in 6th being eliminated and the man in 1st going straight through to the final. I hated it last year, and I still don’t like it this year.
Event 4 – Arm over Arm
6 tonnes of bus need to be pulled up a 25m course using an arm over arm technique. We’ve seen boats, trains, planes and other automobiles used in the past, and it has proven to be a very difficult challenge. THOR is currently in LAST PLACE, with Lalas leading the charge. Nobody out of the 4 men so far has finished the course. Maheripourehir will give it a shot now. He is looking really good at the start, and while he slows down around the 30 second mark, he keeps on going and might even be the first to finish! Sadly he runs out of time, but 23.62m puts him easily in 1st place! Only Shahlaei can beat that now. A good start for him, but at the 30 second mark he really slows down and definitely won’t be finishing the course, however it does look like he’ll beat THOR at least.
Event 5 – Overhead Press
One massive log weighing 160KG simply needs to be pressed overhead as many times as possible in 60 seconds. Pfft, I could do this in my sleep! Not when I’m awake though… Belsak and Kearney are up first going head to head. Belsak is going well, but Kearney makes a mistake on his first lift and struggles a little from there. 7 and 4 reps respectively from these two men. Sheahlaei will go head to head with Maheripourehir now, and it’ll be interesting to see how well they do. At one time Shahlaei held the British record for overhead with a log, but reps are very different from just a single lift. Maheripourehir gets 3 reps and drops the log onto his leg and looks to be hurt. Shahlaei gets 6 which is good for him, and now it all depends on what Lalas and Thor can do. Thor will need a good score here to keep his 1st place so he doesn’t have to compete in the final event. Lalas, like his brother, is good as overhead and should get a good result here. Thor is good as this event, but maybe not AS good as someone like Lalas, but he only needs to beat a couple of people to get enough points. Both men get 5 reps, and now we’ll have to see who places where going into the final event.
1 event is left now, and it seems they have slightly changed from last year. Now only the 2nd and 3rd place athletes will compete head to head. Still not a fan of it though.
Despite coming in joint 3rd with Belsak, the fact Shahlaei didn’t beat him in the last event means that the Brit is OUT of the competition. Bullshit if you ask me. Should go back to the regular old Atlas Stones to determine the final places imo.
Event 6 – Atlas Stones
Wait wait… so they are JUST doing the Atlas Stones anyway? Last year they at least did the head to head competition by having to pass an Atlas Stone over a bar… but they are literally just doing the Atlas Stones? GIVE EVERYONE A CHANCE. Anyway, Lalas and Belsak get going and its Belsak in the lead with Lalas really behind. Belsak gets the 5th stone up before Lalas can even finish the 4th stone. THOR and Belsak go through.