You thought heats with Shaw or Thor were heats of DEATH? They have NOTHING on this heat! 5 of the 6 men competing here today have been in the finals, and they will all be clawing for another shot!
- Aivars Smaukstelis (Latvia) – Latvia’s Strongest Man 2016
- Nick Best (USA) – 6th place World’s Strongest Man 2010
- Mikhail Shivlyakov (Russia) – 9th place World’s Strongest Man 2015
- Konstantine Janashia (Georgia) – 4th place World’s Strongest Man 2016
- Mateusz Kieliszkowski (Poland) – 6th place World’s Strongest Man 2017
- Terry Hollands (England) – 3rd place World’s Strongest Man 2007 & 2011
Janashia. Kieliszkowski. Shivlyakov. Hollands. Best. All former finalists. Terry Hollands has placed on the podium twice, and went to the finals for 9 straight years before being knocked out of the heats a couple of years ago by none other than Konstantine Janashia! He will be looking for retribution and for a 10th final for sure, but his age and slimmed down body weight might not work in his favour here. Best is one of the oldest competitors, just behind Felix I think, and I don’t think he’s going to be going back to the final this year, sadly. That just leaves 3 men, all of whom have the talent to place on the podium this year imo. If I had to make a guess, I’d go with Janashia and Kieliszkowski, with Shivlyakov just losing out on the stones in event 6.
Event 1 – Load & Carry
2 sacks, and the Farmer’s Walk. The final time we’ll see this event, as I’m sure they’ll have something much more difficult for the finals! Smaukstelis, Best and Shivlyakov are up first, and you’d expect Shivlyakov to finish first in this battle given his speed and fitness. Best struggles with the 2nd sack, giving Smaukstelis a chance to finish ahead of him. Shivlyakov drops the Farmer’s Walk implements but manages to pick them up and cross the line before Smaukstelis can overake him. Best finishes with the 2nd sack up, and no time to start the Farmer’s Walk. Now for Janashia, Kieliszkowski and Hollands. A slimmed down Hollands might struggle with the sacks more than usual, but could do better on the Farmer’s Walk. Kieliszkowski would be my pick here though, because he’s just so fast. Hollands does indeed struggle with the sacks, as he’s way behind. Kieliszkowski finishes in UNDER 30 SECONDS while Janashia also beats out Skivlyakov. Hollands manages to finish, but he’s in 5th overall.
Event 2 – Kettlebell Toss
Another event that will likely prove difficult for Hollands. The first time he did the keg toss over a decade ago, he demolished it. Since then, any event of this type has always been a problem for him. Janashia and Kieliszkowski would be my two picks to win here. Well, as I wrote that, we got to see results for the first 3 men who have been. Best in 3rd after only managing 2. Janashia in 2nd with 6 in 37.11 seconds, but the current leader is Smaukstelis with 6 in 27.83 seconds! We join the action with Shivlyakov making his attempt. The first few are going over as if they didn’t weigh anything! He beats the time for 6, but keeps going to get 7! 3 attempts at the final kettlebell, and it GOES OVER! Only Brian Shaw has thrown that one over! Excellent performance from the Russian! Now for Hollands, and I’d expect 4 at most from him in all honesty. The first kettlebell takes 3 attempts to go over, despite having plenty of height each time, just not the right angle. He keeps his composure and keeps on going, making 4 as I predicted, and goes 1 further before the time runs out. Better than I was expecting, but still not what he would have wanted. Finally, its Kieliszkowski! I’m looking forward to seeing what this man is capable of! He doesn’t have the speed of Shivlyakov, but he’s onto the final kettlebell with enough time to beat him… but time runs out on him. Great result still as he takes 2nd place!
Event 3 – Deadlift
Now for an event that Terry Hollands could do very well in. He’ll absolutely be aiming for all 7 reps, and I think only Janashia might be able to beat him here, if Terry is on top form. Smaukstelis and Best have been and gone, with 4 and 6 reps respectively. Hollands is up first for us, and its time to see if he still has it. Well, only 1 rep from Terry and he gives up. Looks like he has some issue with his back, hopefully its just cramp that he has known to suffer from in the past. I think that might be the event that cements the end of Holland’s chances of being in the final. Janashia now, and he looks good right up until the 6th rep which takes a ton of effort. He’ll want the final rep to take him into first place on his own, but he has to stay with 6 to match Best. Surprising to see him not finish them all! Can Kieliszkowski go 1 better? Sadly not, he ends up with just 5 reps which I’m sure disappointed him. Finally its Shivlyakov’s turn, and after his impressive Kettlebell Toss, I could see him doing all 7 here. With 15 seconds left, he takes a quick rest and yes! Makes the 7th rep for 1st place!
We are halfway into this final heat, so lets see who places where!
Shivlyakov, the man who at the start of this post I predicted would end up coming up short, seems to be mocking me now by taking 1st place overall! Janashia isn’t doing as well as I was expecting, and it could be him that ends up being eliminated in the Atlas Stones. Kieliszkowski is doing well, and I still believe he will be one of the names going through to the final. Hollands hasn’t had a good time here at all, and I don’t see him making any kind of Big Z comeback now.
Event 4 – Truck Pull
However, if any event can bring Terry back up the leaderboard, its the Truck Pull! He’s been one of the best in the world for most of his strongman career, beating out champions like Mariusz, Shaw and even Big Z. A win here probably still won’t send him to the finals, but a good result will do wonders for Hollands’ confidence. Shivlyakov has been and gone, with a time of 42.11 seconds for current 2nd. Leading the way however is Nick Best and a time of 41.54 seconds! We join the action with Terry Hollands, and its now or never for the former Britian’s Strongest Man and 2x podium finisher at WSM. He’s looking great, and if he keeps up the pace he’ll finish ahead of Best, and he does! 39.04 seconds! With 3 men left to go though, his time might not hold up. Smaukstelis now, and this is the first time we’ve seen him since the first event. He might not be making waves this year, but if he sticks around and continues to train, he might be a name we’ll be familiar with in the next 5 years or so. He JUST misses out on Terry’s time, with 40.07 seconds! Janashia now, and he might be the man to overtake Hollands. He looks good for it, but like Smaukstelis he JUST misses out with a time of 39.68 seconds! Finally, Kieliszkowski! If any man on the planet right now can beat Terry in a truck pull, its him. He’s fast, he’s fit and he’s powerful. His technique here is perfect too, but he begins to stagger at the halfway point and slow down a little… but it doesn’t matter as he does take 1st place with 35.86 seconds! Terry shouldn’t be disappointed at all as he still proved he is one of the best in the world, but at the same time, not coming in 1st place ends his chances of making it to the Atlas Stones.
Event 5 – Overhead Press
The 4 massive dumbbells are back again! Hollands and Best have been, with 1 and 2 reps respectively. Never a good event for Hollands, and even if it was, no result here would have put him into the final event. Smaukstelis and Janashia go head to head, and Smaukstelis manages to go ahead of Janashia, who really struggles to get the 2nd rep. Eventually he gets it, ensuring his place in the final event. Smaukstelis is unable to get a 3rd rep too. It all comes down now to Shivlyakov and Kieliszkowski and who goes straight through to the final, and who joins Janashia in the final event! Kieliszkowski makes this event look EASY, and he’s the man going straight into the final! Shivlyakov gets 2 reps and gives up there, saving his energy now for the stones!
Lets have a look at the scores just to confirm who places where going into the final event!
Yep, Kieliszkowski is indeed through to the finals, while Shivlyakov and Janashia are the 2 men who will battle it out in the final event for that last WSM final spot!
Event 6 – Atlas Stones
So the final 2 places have been confirmed. The WSM Final takes place later today, so don’t forget to check back to see my post on that! Also, I’ll have my predictions post before then, so plenty of WSM content today!